PROJECT

Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building

The University of Missouri System is going boldly into 21st century medical research with its Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building, located prominently at the southeast entrance to campus. The iconic building is a symbol for the university’s growing leadership in competitive research fields.

The cutting-edge design is an architectural benchmark on campus, while complementing existing campus architecture. Our team designed the four-story, 265,000-square-foot facility to accommodate 60 principal investigators, 300 graduate research assistants and industry partners from around the world working to advance cancer, vascular and neurological research. These critical partnerships are designed to increase patents and patient-specific treatments. The facility draws engineering, medical and veterinary science students, as well as federal government representatives, to pursue collaboration in personalized healthcare.

Precision medicine research led by principal investigators and graduate assistants focuses on pursuing a form of medicine based on an individual’s genes, lifestyle and environment, rather than a universal treatment approach.

Client

University of Missouri System

Location

Columbia, Missouri

Services

Architecture

Healthcare

Higher Education

Sustainability

Industry

Commercial, Retail & Institutional

“There is not a more exciting opportunity for bringing the best minds together from all over Missouri to solve a problem that is national in scope.”

Mun Y. Choi

President, University of Missouri System

Complex and diverse spaces for critical uses.

Highly specialized spaces are segregated away from public circulation to maximize security. Upper levels have unparalleled wet and support labs — suited for chemical, biological and computational research —organized into neighborhoods with associated support functions, equipment, work areas, collaboration spaces and huddle rooms. Below grade areas house a multi-modal imaging suite — with MRI, SPECT CT and PET CT for animals and humans — and vivarium for small and large animals, isolating human and animal movement inside the facility away from public corridors and entrances.

The main building entrance is delineated by a two-story colonnade and glass walls that wrap three sides of the Innovation Tower. The west façade of the tower flexes inward where principal investigators and industry partner offices separate internally. This flex in form and function creates a triangular brow, clearly marking the front of the new facility and its direct relationship to the MU Hospital campus and the larger academic campus to the west.

Balancing private research with campus life.

While the building is highly secure, it also serves as a campus connector between MU’s extensive on-campus research community, outside industry partners, MU Health Care, and the MU Veterinary Health Center. This connection entails both public and private functions that filter through the facility’s ground level lobby in the Innovation Center. The design accommodates diverse user groups and functional requirements while still maintaining a collegiate atmosphere.

Therefore, the design for this public/private lobby level is unique in the way internal programmatic spaces are organized. A café, a 2D visualization center and a large seminar room are arranged in the middle of the lobby level, like islands of space floating in a continuous perimeter of circulation and lounge areas, that informally connect building users to discreet public spaces, a protective two-story lobby colonnade, and surrounding campus amenities like a terraced outdoor plaza and green space.  This creates a very open, inviting first impression for an otherwise secure facility that still accommodates campus functions along with separate entrances for distinct user groups.

A visual crossroads of art and life.

As circulating people meet up in the unique environment — both intentionally and via unexpected interactions — they encounter thematic artwork grounded in light, beauty and a story of the human condition. The first floor of the Innovation Tower features an unusual installation titled “Enduring Impermanence.” The artwork, created in memory of a campus artist’s father, combines vivid color with images of cancer cells in cross-section, mounted to a Turnkey Fusion Light Wall system from Bendheim, which is ideal for diffusing light through images.

Adapting for cost and schedule.

Our design-build experience proved critical in providing design solutions for both a limited budget and an accelerated schedule. We used a structural system, pre-insulated panels and specially designed columns that created efficiencies in construction and supported early occupancy.

 

Photos by Michael Robinson / @mrobinsonphoto

Case Study

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