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Light and Flexible By Geoffrey Brune, AIA p r o j e c t   Baylor College of Medicine Margaret M. Alkek Building for Biomedical Research, Houston c l i e n t  Baylor College of Medicine a r c h i t e c t  Lord, Aeck & Sargent d e s i g n t e a m   Larry Lord, FAIA; Terry Sargent, AIA; Jerry Percifield, AIA; Grant Stout, AIA; Amy Blom Leathers, AIA; Aaron M. Wilner; Patrick McIntyre; Nerissa R. Jemmotte; Chris Fender c o n t r a c t o r  Vaughn c o n s u l t a n t s   Fluor Construction Enterprises, Inc. (program manager); Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers, LLC (MEP/FP); Walter P Moore, Inc. (civil/ structural); SWA Group (landscape) p h o t o g r a p h e r  Jonathan 76 t e x a s Hillyer a r c h i t e c t The Margaret M. Alkek Building for Biomedical Research, designed by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent’s Architecture for Science Studio, is a signature facility on the Baylor College of Medicine campus. Completed in July 2007, the eight-story tower contains research facilities for interdisciplinary programs in cardiovascular sciences, cancer, pharmacogenomics, genomics, and proteomics. The building’s open plans, with extensive use of interior glazing, enhance flexibility and collaboration while also adding a sense of transparency. The opening of the 203,000-sf tower represents the first phase of the completion of a master plan for the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The master plan, also by Lord, Aeck, & Sargent, is incrementally phased to meet long-term development objectives established for the Baylor campus. The second phase was the renovation of courtyard space as the core component of the campus. Further phases will continue the growth with the addition of a new lobby and pavilion structure, another research facility, and a gateway entrance to the college from the southern edge of the campus. The origins of the Alkek project extend back to 1999 when Baylor College of Medicine built an earlier research complex. That facility, designed by Page Southerland Page, was constructed below grade with a sculptural garden covering the roof (located at grade). As an additional component, area for a future tower was provided at the southwest edge of that courtyardtopped complex. Studies for the tower included several multi-level options, and feasibility assessments were evaluated for schemes designed with six, 12, and 18 floors. After Baylor determined that the six-floor proposal would accommodate its future plans for the tower, the architects and engineers were directed to design foundation piers at the edge of the underground facility that would accommodate a six-story, 120,000-sf structure of concrete with stone and glass window facades. Then, in 2004, Baylor commenced efforts to commission architects and engineers to design the tower previously envisioned for the courtyard’s southwest corner. Lord, Aeck & Sargent was chosen to design the building and renovate the existing courtyard rooftop garden. As with many master-planned projects where initial construction has been set in place for future development, the needs and requirements of the owner changed over time. Baylor requested additional square footage to accommodate current requirements for its programs to be housed in the proposed tower. That expanded program resulted in the addition of another two floors to the six previously planned. Also, to further complicate the 7 / 8 2 0 0 8

Texas Architect July/Aug 2008: Regional Response

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