Lab of Year Honors Awarded to HDR-designed Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care

University of Texas; MD Anderson Cancer Center- Zayed Center for Personalized Cancer Center

University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Zayed Center for Personalized Cancer Center

A Special Recognition for Design was awarded to the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care, Houston, Texas, in this year’s Lab of the Year competition. The facility was designed by HDR for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The award, sponsored by R&D Magazine, is the ultimate honor for research buildings, recognizing excellence in research laboratory design, planning, engineering, and construction.

“Bold, inspirational ideas that elevate science were needed to reinforce MD Anderson’s efforts to dramatically and rapidly reduce mortality and suffering in 12 cancers, “ notes Brian Kowalchuk, design director for HDR. “The building’s organization reinforces a different way of conducting research, creates monumental flexibility and an environment which challenges convention. The building interior reinforces the functions to accomplish this feat, while the exterior expresses hope and inspiration.”

Designed differently from other research buildings for MD Anderson, the Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care fundamentally changes how research is conducted there. The facility embraces the trend towards translational research driving multi-disciplinary collaboration in order to accelerate taking research to treatments and ultimately, cures. Its tower is composed of four slender wings, like a pin-wheel, with a gathering place for people at the center, and two office wings and two lab wings.

“The concept of two office towers and two lab towers connected via a central hub was a significant departure from previous lab designs. This horizontal integration combines with the vertical integration of a central staircase to connect teams together and we expect this feature to foster collaboration in a very different way,” described David J. Bammerlin, P. E., associate vice president of Research & Education Facilities for MD Anderson.

The Zayed Building was one of only three firms that received an award this year. It was presented to members of the design team at the Laboratory Design Conference in Houston, TX on April 26, 2016.