The Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery at the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park Campus is a new 330,760-sq-ft research building.

The Gwen and Jules Knapp Center for Biomedical Discovery, University of Chicago

More than half of it is dedicated to The Institute for Molecular Pediatric Sciences, which focuses on improving children’s health through team research on how genes influence disease. The remainder is the new headquarters of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center and houses the Ludwig Center, which studies how cancer spreads.

Key Players

Owner: University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
General Contractor: Turner Construction Co., Chicago
Design Firm: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, Los Angeles

The building provides open, flexible laboratory and office space designed to encourage interaction between researchers and their focuses.

It also features an emergency power system to protect research equipment, extra-heavy-duty air conditioning, and wireless technology throughout.

The 10-story building stands at the northwest corner of campus. Bridges on the third level connect it with the Gordon Center for Integrative Science and the Donnelly Biological Sciences Learning Center.

One challenge in constructing the new research center was handling mid-stream design changes that increased the project volume by 18%, while still maintaining the completion schedule. Some of the changes included switching from campus chilled water to a stand-alone chiller plant, converting one end of building from offices into wet labs, changing the vivarium layout, and moving lab spaces between the first and third floors.

Turner accommodated all the changes with only a two-month extension in achieving the certificate of occupancy.