Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building - CO Architects
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Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building

CO Architects

Edited By CO Architects - 10 April 2019

The tallest addition to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus is the 10-story Biomedical Sciences Partnership Building (BSPB), designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects in collaboration with Ayers Saint Gross of Tempe, AZ. Programmed, designed, and constructed in only 27 months, the 245,000-sq.-ft. [22.761 m2], $99-million [circa 88-million Euros] laboratory complex allows University of Arizona research scientists to collaborate with local healthcare providers and private companies to find new medical cures and treatments. BSPB is located to the north of the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) — also designed by the same architect and contractor team — on the University of Arizona’s biomedical research campus in downtown Phoenix. Similar to the education building, the newer biosciences structure is clad in folded copper panels, but its exterior, through pronounced setbacks and projections, presents a different physical interpretation of the tall, cleft, desert rock formations. Cantilevered floors extending outward shade the lower levels, while windows limited to the north and south sides control daylight and conserve energy. The space between the paired campus structures is richly landscaped with native desert plantings, such as a canyon floor would be, to create a shady courtyard. A bridge at the third floor connects the two related buildings. BSPB is organized to encourage collegiality, collaboration, and customization. The building was programmed and planned before the design team knew who any of the occupants were. Thus, the design included a framework of future-proof labs, support spaces, and offices. The intent was to create an adaptable plan and utility distribution backbone that would be easy to modify when people eventually occupy the spaces and use them for different types of research. Open offices at the BSPB’s north perimeter take advantage of daylight and views, and are visually connected to labs that support neurological, cardiovascular, cancer, genomic, and nano-bioscience research. Highly flexible lab support spaces were designed as “wet garages” and are arranged next to the windows on the south side. Mechanical equipment is housed on the windowless east and west ends, rather than on the rooftop, protecting the occupants from the intense Phoenix sun. At the northwest corner of the building, researchers and industry representatives meet on laboratory floors to exchange ideas in two-story glass-enclosed spaces designed with meeting rooms, lounges, and kitchenettes. A sheltering entrance porch on the west side of the building faces the central campus green to form a sunshaded gathering space similar to an outdoor lobby. A linear gallery connects the lobby to the courtyard, and acts as a pre-function space for meetings of various sizes. The LEED Silver-certified building integrates various sustainable features, such as copper paneling made of 95% recycled materials, passive orientation, cascade air supply system, chilled beams in labs and open offices, and LED lighting throughout the facility.