The San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) announced on October 1, 2020 that Perkins&Will is the recipient of the foundation’s highest and most coveted honor, the Malone Grand Orchid Award, for designing the University of California, San Diego’s and Biomed Realty’s new cancer research hub. The 137,000-square-foot LEED Gold Certified Center for Novel Therapeutics (CNT) is the first drug discovery incubator site in San Diego to blend academia and industry.
Kay Kornovich, Managing Director
The SDAF bestowed its most prestigious award to Perkins&Will in response to the firm’s innovative approach to the CNT’s laboratory design, which focused on enabling collaboration through chance encounters between researchers and increased visual connectivity. With research wings positioned around a central atrium, the hub’s primary gathering place, and campus-facing laboratories, the 137,000-square-foot CNT creates synergies between researchers, students, and the general public. Additionally, sliding doors, interior planters, and motorized windows work to bridge centrally located offices to the region’s natural ecosystem. The CNT’s high performance and sustainable design attributes earned it LEED Gold Certification.
CNT started as a vision of two UCSD faculty members who believed life-saving cancer treatments could be developed and delivered more rapidly by blending academia with private sector research. A decade later, through a partnership between BioMed Realty, a leading provider of real estate solutions for the life science and technology industries, UCSD, and Perkins&Will, that vision was brought to life.
“The Center for Novel Therapeutics’ partnership with BioMed Realty is going to change the face of patient care by bringing new therapies from research to market more efficiently than ever before. These types of forward-thinking partnerships help UC San Diego move closer to its goal of becoming a preferred destination for students, researchers, patients and the community,” said Pradeep Khosla, UC San Diego Chancellor.
The Perkins&Will team in charge of CNT’s design includes Kay Kornovich, principal; Peter Busby, design director; Ryan Bussard, design principal; Christa Wood, project architect; and Eileen McHugh, project manager. The firm is also planning the design of several other highly anticipated life science and higher-education projects in the San Diego area, including a canyon-side high-tech research institution known as APEX; Franklin Antonio Hall, a UCSD engineering research facility that encompasses 13 large “collaboratories,” or collaborative labs; and UCSD’s new student housing tower, Pepper Canyon. Totaling 622,360 square feet, these three projects are slated for completion in 2021 and 2022.
Since 1976, SDAF’s leaders have gathered to cultivate thoughtful and valued design in San Diego’s built environment by celebrating projects that epitomize outstanding placemaking, civic pride, community growth, and innovation. Its annual architecture competition, Orchids & Onions, celebrates the year’s greatest design successes (Orchids) while playfully calling out the year’s greatest architectural misses (Onions). Nineteen projects are recognized, but only one receives the Malone Grand Orchid Award.