Perkins+Will Selected to Design Northwestern University’s Biomedical Research Building

Ralph Johnson-designed building offers occupants collaborative spaces and lots of natural light

Perkins+Will has been selected to design the new 600,000 square foot Biomedical Research Building for the Feinberg School of Medicine on Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus.

The competition winning design creates space for synergy and collaboration, builds a seamless physical connection to Northwestern’s existing facilities, and integrates with Streeterville’s vibrant urban setting. In its sculptural design, it reinforces Chicago’s progressive modern-architecture heritage and advances sustainable practices with green technology and design features that support environmental and personal health. Perkins+Will developed the building form and exterior in response to various internal and external drivers, including the creation of laboratory neighborhoods, access to daylight and views, connection to existing buildings and an acknowledgement of Superior Street as the main corridor for the research campus. In its flexible conferencing suites and break/lounge areas, as well as collaborative spaces in lab neighborhoods, our design creates a dynamic, collegial environment in which important scientific discoveries will take place.

“The inspiration from day one was the lab plan for the building. It wasn’t creating a sculpture and fitting in the plan. It’s all about the research and the labs and that’s the generator of the idea,” said Ralph Johnson, Global Design Director of Perkins+Will. “When you do that, the shape of the building starts to happen.”

“Northwestern University and Perkins+Will have created a building with a unique shape that has a poetry of design and will result in a work of beauty for the University and the community,” said Gordon Segal, who chairs the educational properties committee of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees.

The new Biomedical Research Building will anchor the University’s research facilities and be the hub of a world-class research and development enterprise that attracts innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Perkins+Will has designed a building that will be both very functional and will also have great internal spaces that will encourage collaboration among our researchers. It will support our research mission and will help us attract the best faculty in the country,” said Eric Neilson, M.D., Northwestern’s vice president for medical affairs and the Lewis Landsberg Dean of Feinberg.

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