HOK recently unveiled its design for a new University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building. The renderings show a light-flooded, six-story glass atrium sandwiched between two L-shaped, terracotta-and-glass-clad wings. At more than 500,000 square feet, the new building will be the largest architectural development seen in downtown Buffalo in decades.
With its two glass walls, saw tooth skylights, and multiple internal bridges, the atrium is an open and naturally luminous space that the architects hope will foster collaboration between students, researchers, faculty, and members of the local medical community. “The two L’s embrace the atrium and provide an opportunity for the comingling of multi-disciplinary teams within the space,” said Kenneth Drucker, HOK design principal for the project.
As a concept, “connection” features prominently in the overall design, both aesthetically in the building’s relation to local architectural history as well as physically in the links it makes with the local community. The glass curtain wall and terracotta rain-screen, for example, reference Buffalo’s masonry-rich historic landscape. The transit-oriented design, on the other hand, will add to a pre-existing NFTA transit hub, creating a nerve center for the downtown area. The building’s Main Street elevation begets a portal from Allen Street to the future campus. Dining areas are left out to encourage the patronage of local businesses, and a second-floor bridge will link to the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and the Conventus medical office building, which is under construction on High Street.
Inside the seven-story building, three laboratory floors are sandwiched by three medical education floors. The first two floors contain multipurpose educational and community spaces; the third, fourth, and fifth floors house research facilities and more than 150,000 square feet of state-of-the-art modular laboratory space; and the sixth floor is home to some of the most advanced medical education facilities in the country. The seventh floor contains gross anatomy facilities.
The LEED Gold registered design plants the seed for future development of the University at Buffalo campus. Groundbreaking is scheduled for September of 2013 and construction is scheduled for completion in 2016.