Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine Celebrates Grand Opening

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Designed by Fentress Architects, the World-Class Laboratory Promotes Intellectual Exploration and Collaboration

A building that will enhance communications between the best minds in biomedical research.

“Design a building that will enhance communications between the best minds in biomedical research.”

Two years ago, Louis Coffman, vice president of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, challenged the design team with this goal for a new research center in La Jolla, California. Today's grand opening for this innovative biomedical laboratory--nicknamed the "Collaboratory"--celebrates a building uniquely designed to promote social and intellectual interaction among scientists.

The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine (Sanford) is a consortium of five world leaders in life sciences research: the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford | Burnham Medical Research Institute, the University of California, San Diego, and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. Designed by Fentress Architects, in association with Davis Davis Architects, the laboratory was developed by Lankford/Phelps Consortium.

“Our design features the latest innovations in research and sustainability, while honoring the modern aesthetics of the neighboring Salk Institute. The signature office “pods” speak to Louis Kahn’s extraordinary design while fostering collaboration and communication among researchers.”- Curtis Fentress, Principal-in-Charge of Design at Fentress Architects

Sanford marshals the intellectual resources of five organizational world-leaders in life sciences research, bringing scientists from each institution together for joint research and education in one of today’s most promising arenas of science. Scientists from the five collaborating organizations will focus on stem cell, neuroscience and cardiovascular studies.

Design For People | Located on a premier site adjacent to the Salk Institute and UCSD campus, the signature building is in the heart of San Diego’s biotechnology cluster. This area is home to what some might say is a disproportionate amount of brainpower. It has been called everything from a research Mecca to a "biotech supremacy," but it is best known by its nickname “the Mesa.”

Fentress Architects set out to design a laboratory on the Mesa that would pull researchers out of their routines and encourage interaction. With that goal in mind, the design team took the standard lab module and shifted it in opposing directions, altering the way people move through the building. This design shift increases the opportunity for impromptu meet-ups and dialogue. It creates spaces at each end of the building for shared two-story break rooms, which interconnect all levels of the building. Stairways between floors were strategically designed as areas of “creative collision” where people and ideas intersect.

“This building is all about user experience. We were tasked to design a building where collaboration could thrive, where different organizations could come together under one roof and unite for a common goal. We are proud of the result, and honored to have been involved.”- Robin D. Ault, Project Designer, Fentress Architects

Another major design element includes private office “pods” for senior researchers and investigators at Sanford. Cantilevered from exterior walkways, the pods offer protected views that overlook the Torrey Pines Golf Course, the historic Gliderport and the Pacific Ocean.

Sanford also has a café and 150-seat auditorium, separate from the laboratory building. The client envisioned the auditorium as a place for scientists to educate the community and provide a focal point for dialogue. An outside plaza divides the café and auditorium from the main laboratory building, allowing researchers to get outside the working environment of the lab.

Green Leader | The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification. A pedestrian bridge leading to the main entrance passes over a restored landscape of orange-barked madrone trees. Eucalyptus trees, cut from the site, were reused as signature elements, and will be mist-irrigated to encourage the regeneration of native plant life. Other green strategies include utilizing recyclable pecan chips in open areas instead of mulch, and incorporation of bioswales in the parking lots to filter water naturally.

Sustainable Elements

  •     Optimization of natural daylight and views to the outdoors
  •     Use of local climate to lower utility bills
  •     Shading devices and operable windows
  •     Displacement ventilation and chilled beams to enhance energy efficiency
  •     Use of certified wood
  •     Native plants and adaptive species used in the surrounding environment
  •     Low-flow plumbing fixtures
  •     Water-use efficiency improved by 40%
  •     Elimination of potable water for irrigation
  •     Promotes use of alternative transportation and public transit (bike storage and changing room)

Sanford by the Numbers

  •     5 world-leaders in life sciences research
  •     330 scientists
  •     9 senior office pods
  •     12 junior office pods
  •     150-seat auditorium
  •     2 two-story break rooms
  •     150,700 square feet
  •     420 parking spaces
  •     $127,000,000 project

Fentress Architects is global design firm that passionately pursues the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture. Together with their clients, Fentress creates inspired design to improve the human environment. Founded by Curtis Fentress in 1980, the firm has designed US$26 billion of architectural projects worldwide, visited by over 300 million people each year. Fentress is a dynamic learning organization, driven to grow its ability to design, innovate and exceed client expectations. The firm has been honored with more than 360 distinctions for design excellence and innovation, and in 2010, Curtis Fentress was recognized by the American Institute of Architects with the most prestigious award for public architecture, the Thomas Jefferson Award. Fentress has studios in Denver, Colorado; Los Angeles, California; San Jose, California; Washington, D.C.; and London, U.K. http://www.fentressarchitects.com

Please contact Angela Potrykus at 303.282.6192 or potrykus(at)fentressarchitects(dot)com for more information or images.

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Angela Potrykus, PR
Fentress Architects
303-282-6192
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