After an international competition that focused the expertise of four elite architectural teams on design possibilities for a new University at Buffalo school of medicine in downtown Buffalo, UB announced today the selection of the winning team.
HOK, one of the world's leading architectural firms, with a global portfolio of health sciences facilities and academic buildings and an international reputation for sustainable design, has been selected to help produce the final design for the new UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Robert G. Shibley, dean of the UB School of Architecture and Planning and head of the selection committee, said four teams of the world's top architects were selected from among 19 teams in five countries that originally vied for the opportunity to design this building.
The announcement kicks off the next phase of the medical school design process. This phase will include the public exhibition of design ideas submitted by all four competing teams and conversations with university and community stakeholders to inform and guide creation of the final design for the school.
The four finalists (design ideas here
) represent an international shortlist of some of today's most notable architects. In addition to HOK, they are Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Cannon Design, Rafael Vinoly Architects with Foit-Albert Associates, and Grimshaw and Davis Brody Bond.
An eight-person selection committee composed of design and engineering professionals from the State University Construction Fund and UB evaluated the teams based on a diverse set of criteria, including depth of experience with similar facility types, project team qualifications, project approach, design ideas, minority- and women-owned business enterprise participation and references from other work.
The proposed $375 million medical school, funded in part by NYSUNY 2020 legislation, is a key component of the UB 2020 plan for academic excellence, which is intended to benefit students, faculty, staff and the Western New York community.
The new medical school will sit at the corner of High and Main Streets, in the center of the region's emerging bio-sciences corridor and a short walk from Buffalo General Medical Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute and the recently completed UB-Kaleida Health building, which houses UB's Clinical and Translational Research Center and the Gates Vascular Institute. The planned relocation of Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo could place that hospital across the street from the medical school building.
Groundbreaking for the medical school is slated for fall 2013; construction is anticipated to be completed in 2016. The medical school's construction continues the physical transformation of UB's three campuses. Beginning with the opening of the award-winning William R. Greiner Residence Hall designed by Cannon Design last August and continuing through this September, UB will have opened four major new buildings across its three campuses. Included among the list of projects is the Clinical and Translational Research Center, built jointly with Kaleida Health's Gates Vascular Institute, also designed by Cannon.
Kenneth Drucker, design principal for the project and design director for HOK's New York office, said his team approached the medical school project "after a thorough analysis of the scale and texture of the city and the history, quality and craft of Buffalo architecture.
"UB has world-class aspirations for the architecture, design and planning of the medical school and site," he said. "The project presents an exciting opportunity to transform the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and make a bold statement for architecture and urban design in Buffalo. We are pleased to have been selected for such a meaningful project to prepare students for medical and research careers in an inspiring research-focused academic medical center."
The medical school will be the largest new building to be built in Buffalo in decades, and the project presents a complex and important set of urban design challenges because of its location. The building will serve as a gateway to downtown and the front door of the university and Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with the potential to offer a seamless connection to the surrounding Allentown and Fruit Belt neighborhoods.
The site also includes a new Allen-Medical Campus Metro Station. UB is finalizing an agreement with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to permit the station to be incorporated into or built adjacent to the medical school building. In addition, several historic buildings to the east must be thoughtfully incorporated into the site plan. Finally, the university is looking for a design that includes green space and pedestrian ways, such as a linear park along Ellicott Street and a pedestrian passage through the building from Allen Street, which will create a strong sense of place for campus and community and physical connections between them.
"This is a milestone in UB's master plan for its downtown campus, which is to create a lively, urban, mixed-use district, well-connected to the Allentown and Fruit Belt neighborhoods and downtown communities," said Shibley, adding that the medical school move will bring 1,200 students, faculty and staff downtown.
The four teams proposed a range of design responses to these challenges, including positioning the medical school's "front door" on different corners of the site, which is bounded by Main Street on the west, High Street on the north, Washington Street on the east and extends past Allen Street on the south. Some design schemes used Washington Street as a drive-able access point, while others used it as pedestrian-only. All of them extend Allen Street eastward deep into the campus, creating grand promenades from Allen Street to Ellicott Street.
HOK will begin to address the full range of design challenges over the next several weeks through visioning and space programming discussions with medical school leadership, faculty, staff and students. Public input will also be sought on all four design concepts submitted by the finalists, which will be on display for the public at the Greatbatch Pavilion, 125 Jewett Pkwy., Buffalo, through May 24, and then at the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library, 1 Lafayette Sq., Buffalo, through June 8. Community members are invited to submit their comments by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Updated information on the design process will be available at http://buffalo.edu/buildingub.
The design competition process used to select HOK was intensive. In February, the four competing teams toured facilities and participated in a workshop with university officials to discuss project goals. They then had a month to prepare initial illustrations of their work as part of their response to a formal request for proposals. The design experiments were presented to campus and community leaders in late March to further inform the selection process.
Competing teams were challenged to propose design solutions that foster collaboration and interdisciplinary care and create connections that allow students, faculty, biomedical researchers and clinicians to move easily from classroom to bedside to lab. For example, design ideas included sky-bridge connections from the medical school to a Phase 2 building across Washington Street as well as to a proposed medical office building and to the proposed Women and Children's Hospital on High Street.
"This process was never intended to produce a winning design, but to reveal how the architects were thinking about and approaching the project," said Shibley, "and HOK rose to the top of an impressive field, bringing an all-star team to the project, a thoughtful and graceful approach, and recent experience designing some of the highest profile and most innovative health sciences facilities in the world."