Press Releases June 17, 2019

Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center at Northwestern University Opens

New facility inspires world-class research on Northwestern University’s medical campus

CHICAGO — The 12-story Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, designed by global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will, opened today on the downtown campus of Northwestern University. The contemporary design supports the delivery of life-saving research in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. The light-filled 627,000-square-foot facility features laboratories built around “research neighborhoods” and critical connections to the existing Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University and hospitals on campus, creating the flexible, efficient, and secure spaces necessary for scientific discovery to thrive.


A New Home for Discovery

“The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center is an inspired new home for discovery on Northwestern University’s Chicago medical campus,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Inside this modern new building, scientists will pioneer discoveries that will impact the practice of medicine and transform human health. Here, we will accelerate the pace of lifesaving medical science that fuels the local and national economy, near world-class campus partners and in a global city with unrivaled opportunities for biomedical commercialization and entrepreneurship.”

A Modern Look for Cutting Edge Research

The research center is currently the largest new academic biomedical research facility in the country, and maximizes limited space in a dense neighborhood. Open space at street level and an airy glass lobby create visual permeability. The building’s modern aesthetic reflects the cutting-edge research occurring within.

Nearly 1,500 researchers on nine dedicated laboratory floors are at the heart of a newly unified academic medical district that brings together physicians and scientists from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, along with top-ranked clinical affiliates Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

“The building was designed with elegance and transparency in mind, welcoming the public at street level and prioritizing varied space types, natural light, and extensive collaboration areas,” said Ralph Johnson, Design Director at Perkins&Will.

The center will be home to leading scientists such as Dr. Susan Quaggin, director of Feinberg Cardiovascular and Renal Research Institute, who is advancing medical science in kidney research. Her expanded lab space will be filled with scientists whose expertise in stem cells, blood vessels and developmental biology will accelerate the development of viable bioengineered organs.

Key design features of the Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center include:

Active spaces: Twenty-three labs on each floor can be reconfigured according to research needs. Labs are positioned at the center of the facility, ringed by glass walls to let in natural light. Interconnected floors are designed to maximize scientific interactions. Two-story collaboration spaces connect groupings of lab levels by a cantilevered balcony and staircase, offering more spaces for informal meetings. Workstations and offices line the exterior next to a double-glass curtain wall, which includes shading devices that automatically raise or lower to adjust to glare.

Fritted glass and metal fins on the façade: These cut the sun’s glare while improving wellness and user experience within the building.

More intuitive, secure access between and within buildings: The north entrance brings the public into a glass-walled winter garden, leading to a multi-story atrium lobby that can be used for events for up to 300 people. The atrium sits at the base of the building’s curving glass façade and connects directly to the Lurie Medical Research Center and the campus bridge network.

A sustainable approach: The research center is on track to be LEED Gold Certified. The atrium balcony overlooks a vegetative green roof designed to reduce heat absorption. A “blue roof,” located at the top of the building, can retain up to six inches of storm water for up to 48 hours.

The expanded research capacity at the Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center is expected to increase Northwestern’s current federal research funding by $150 million annually, or $1.5 billion in the next 10 years. The building is designed for future vertical expansion, which will double its size.

About Perkins&Will

Perkins&Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, was founded in 1935 on the belief that design has the power to transform lives. Guided by its core values—design excellence, diversity and inclusion, research, resilience, social purpose, sustainability, and well-being—the firm is committed to designing a better, more beautiful world. Fast Company named Perkins&Will one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture, and industry rankings consistently place Perkins&Will among the world’s top design practices. With an international team of more than 2,700 professionals, the firm has over 20 studios worldwide, providing services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Partners include Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen; retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit