Stunning Green Design Molds Research Building

A ground-breaking science building ought to showcase cutting-edge design, and the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building at the University of California, San Francisco, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, does just that.

This new building, located on the university’s Parnassus campus, is the new headquarters for the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research, one of the largest and most comprehensive such programs in the United States.

Stem Cell Building

image via University of California, San Francisco

Because U.S. scientists have been prohibited by President George W. Bush’s stem cell policy from conducting stem cell research in federally funded buildings, funding for this $123 million building was provided through a combination of state and private funds, reflecting philanthropy on the part of science-forward Bay Area residents as well as California’s efforts to advance stem cell research in the face of more than a decade of restrictive federal funding policies.

The building itself is located on steeply sloping urban area and is serpentine in shape, winding its way over a hillside. According to Archinect, the locations of break rooms, stairs and other features were selected to increase the potential for chance interaction, and hence, the chances of cross-pollination among scientists who may not be working together directly on projects.

Stem Cell Building2

image via Archinect

Ecological features include a green roof which controls storm run-off and creates an attractive roof-patio where researchers can relax, as well as a structural base consisting of steel space trusses springing from concrete piers, minimizing site excavation and incorporating seismic base isolation to absorb earthquake forces. The building is targeting LEED certification.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.