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New Biomedical Research Center Facility at Northwestern University

Designed by Perkins+Will, the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center has spaces aiding medical discovery.

July 02, 2019 |

Designed by Perkins+Will, Northwestern University’s 12-story Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center contains spaces which are reconfigurable for different uses and which were crafted with researchers and their tasks in mind. The structure also is meant to strengthen collaboration between the education, research, and medical professional communities.

When a thrust of a project is to facilitate and inspire top notch research, details matter.

In the 12-story Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center, a structure designed by Perkins+Will, contemporary design facilitates scientific research by easing the process. Research areas in the new 627,000-square-foot facility include spaces for work on diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The structure has laboratories created with their intent in mind. Built around “research neighborhoods,” as well as connections to hospitals on campus and the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University, the spaces engender collaboration and discovery. Through the new facility, the university now offers the flexible spaces necessary for research.

“The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center is an inspired new home for discovery on Northwestern University’s Chicago medical campus,” said Dr. Eric G. Neilson, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Inside this modern new building, scientists will pioneer discoveries that will impact the practice of medicine and transform human health. Here, we will accelerate the pace of lifesaving medical science that fuels the local and national economy, near world-class campus partners and in a global city with unrivaled opportunities for biomedical commercialization and entrepreneurship.”


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Touted by the university as the largest new academic biomedical research facility in the country, the research center makes the most of limited space in a tight area. Designed with open space at the street level and a glass lobby creating an open feel, the building’s modern design echoes the state-of-art research inside.

About 1,500 researchers labor on nine laboratory floors of the new building. It’s the core a newly unified academic medical district comprising physicians and scientists from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute, along with clinical affiliates Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

“The building was designed with elegance and transparency in mind, welcoming the public at street level and prioritizing varied space types, natural light, and extensive collaboration areas,” said Ralph Johnson, Design Director at Perkins+Will.

Twenty-three labs on each floor can be reconfigured to fit research needs. Positioned at the center of the facility, the labs are ringed by glass walls to allow natural light. Two-story collaboration spaces connect groupings of lab levels by way of a cantilevered balcony and staircase.

A multi-story atrium lobby in the building can be used for events of up to 300. The atrium, located at the base of the building’s curving glass façade, connects to the Lurie Medical Research Center and the campus bridge network.

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