Stunning new medical research building opens at University of Chicago

Stunning new medical research building opens at University of Chicago

June 18, 2009


The University of Chicago Medical Center announces the grand opening of the Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, a 330,760-square-foot, 10-story, glass-walled building that provides a state-of-the-art home for research programs in diabetes, pediatrics, genomics, cancer and other medical specialties.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A reception will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., including tours of the facility and ribbon-cuttings of several named spaces. Gwen and Jules Knapp will be attending, as well as Alderman Leslie Hairston and Superintendent Gloria Pittman, both of Chicago's Fifth Ward, and more than 200 other guests.


900 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL


Researchers at the Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery will work at the interface between basic science and medicine. They will translate fundamental scientific discoveries made by biologists and other scientists into better care for patients.

"A key tenet of the University of Chicago Medical Center is to translate scientific knowledge into the best treatment for complex disease," said James L. Madara, MD, Chief Executive Officer, UCMC. "The Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery is a model incubator for achieving this vision. Its flexible, modern, high-impact design houses an extraordinary faculty and staff working together to advance medical discovery and scientific innovation--ultimately leading to rapid improvements in how we care for patients with complex disease."

The Center includes the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research; Beverly Duchossois Cancer Laboratories; Kovler Diabetes Center; Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology; and researchers from the Department of Pediatrics; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and Department of Medicine's Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, and Hematology/Oncology Sections.

Designed by the award-winning Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, the stunning $244 million building provides open, efficient, and flexible laboratory and office space designed to encourage cross-fertilization between labs. It features few walls, most of which can be changed easily, depending on research needs. The building also includes conference and lecture halls and several multi-story public and common spaces--all designed to enhance the exchange of ideas among the 80 scientific investigators and 800 personnel who will work there.

The building has an emergency power system to protect valuable research equipment, extra heavy duty air conditioning, and wireless technology throughout.

The exterior design combines a limestone base, reflecting the campus heritage, with the open, transparent feel provided by 130,000 square feet of glass-curtain walls higher up. The innovative design of the serrated west wall gives each office a view north toward downtown Chicago, as well as west over Washington Park.

Minority and woman-owned firms and workers achieved $35.7 million in economic benefit through contracts awarded and wages earned on this project.

Although most University of Chicago campus buildings top out at five-to-seven stories, this building is one of several taller clinical and research structures at the northwest corner of the campus. It connects via bridges at the third-floor level south to the Gordon Center for Integrative Science and east to the Donnelly Biological Sciences Learning Center.

"We hope that in our children's lifetimes some of the diseases addressed by researchers in this Center will be defeated or that their treatments will improve the quality of people's lives," said Gwen and Jules Knapp, who donated $25 million to the Center. "We hope that our gifts will advance science and health, and benefit mankind."

Time Lapse Video of Building Construction