By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
Global design firm HOK has been designated as the lead architect for the Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC) near Palermo, Sicily in Italy, selected among 13 other firms that entered the international design competition for the contract.
The $269 million Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center will be a 334,000-square-foot world-class research facility and global biomedical research and development hub. HOK’s design for the project ensures the development will be the highest quality biomed research facility. HOK’s design envision the center as a small, compact village integrated into the landscape. A pedestrian street will run through the middle of the facility and connect all buildings. The facility will have compelling views of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north and the mountains to the south.
Laboratory space will take up four wings on three floors. The modular design will allow uncomplicated space subdivision. Floor-to-ceiling glass will make maximum use of natural light while promoting communication and visibility between research and documentation areas. Formal and informal workspaces will abound, the highlight being the central conference center and its auditorium. Additional conference space will be available in a central commons building, which will also house various amenities, such as the faculty café. Incubator laboratories and a patient trial clinic will be also in close proximity to ease patient access.
The facility will implement a high level of sustainability, aiming for a minimum of LEED Gold certification from the Green Building Council Italia.
The BRBC is expected to open in 2016 and will employ around 600 scientists and miscellaneous staff. The facility will focus on translational science to ensure a quick transport of innovation from research labs to the global marketplace.
“Great research laboratories such as the BRBC attract the brightest talent and provide the tools and workspaces to promote innovation and discovery,” said HOK Director of Science and Technology Bill Odell.
Odell, who is also the design principal on the Ri.MED project, added: “Our design integrates cutting-edge technology with flexible, functional space. The goal is to create an extraordinarily functional yet iconic facility that will advance modern medicine.”
All design and engineering will be handled by a complex international team. While HOK, will act as lead architect, other members include Buro Happold in London and Milan, a company in the foreground of low-carbon and low-energy design, Milan, Italy-based Progetto CMR, an integrated design company with an eye on sustainability, Palermo, Italy-based De Cola Associati, a firm specialized in health and university buildings and architecture, engineering and urban design firm Eupro in Ragusa, Italy.
Global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK is at the cutting edge of sustainability, receiving several awards and commendations for the sustainable aspects of many of HOK’s projects. HOK also has extensive experience in healthcare facilities, as well as research and technology projects. A prime example of this is the award-winning King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.
Established in 2006, the Ri.MED Foundation is an international partnership between the Presidency of the Italian government, the Presidency of the Region of Sicily, the Italian National Research Council, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and the University of Pittsburgh. UPMC is an affiliate of the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, creating new models of accountable, cost-efficient, and patient care. UPMC will be managing the research hub.
Future development at Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center in Palermo will include a new hospital and a medical school on campus.
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