Washington University School of Medicine, Couch Biomedical Research Building
St. Louis, Missouri
This bold new building, housing highly flexible labs for genetics and biomedical research, is an important expansion of the Washington University School of Medicine campus. All five floors are designed with open, modular daylit labs and support areas. Internal transparency among all spaces enhances collaboration among scientists and between disciplines. The building is seen as an important asset in attracting and retaining research talent, keeping the institution in the forefront of genetics research.
The exterior design highlights the open spatial arrangement and the science research activities that happen in the space. The cladding includes prefabricated limestone panels, high-performance curtain wall with frit for solar control, and metal panels. The north façade is principally clad in curtain wall to maximize available daylight in the building without significant cooling load. The south façade is more solid, with punched windows, to allow daylight but minimize heat gain. The structural system is cast-in-place reinforced concrete for long-term durability, vibrational stability and inherent fire protection.