UCSF celebrated the opening of its brand new Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building yesterday afternoon. It's pretty much as noble a project as you'd expect from the name: studying various forms of cancer, the Mission Bay building will more than double UCSF's lab space. It is, to put it mildly, a very good thing.
But the building's buzz isn't limited to the medical field: we're seeing a lot of chatter around its design. The building features two interlocking L-shapes; one with office space, the other with lab space. The idea was to foster collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas by bringing people together; and to that end, Rafael Viñoly Architects made extensive use of glass so you're always aware of the people around you. In particular, the atrium looks like a lovely place to meetup and talk about science (not the evil kind please). Other upcoming projects for the firm include the airy-looking New Stanford Hospital in, you guessed it, Stanford.
But if we can be just a bit of a party-pooper for a moment, we'd like to point out what seems like a disappointing design aspect: virtually no glass at ground level. Pedestrians on the sidewalk will encounter a neighborhood-killing blank brick wall. We suppose the designers must've had their reasons, but it seems a shame for building that champions human interaction to erect barriers between itself and the public.
· Rafael Viñoly Architects Completes Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Center [Archinnovations]
· Rafael Viñoly Architects Completes UCSF Cancer Research Building [Interior Design]
· Comfort Zone [Architect's Guide to Glass and Metal]