In the late 1960s, Dr. Michael DeBakey performed some of the country’s first heart transplants at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. As the teaching hospital for Baylor College of Medicine since 1950, Methodist was no stranger to cutting-edge technology and research, though for a long time it relied on its partnership with the college for biomedical investigation. But in 2004 the two institutions parted ways as Methodist decided to become an independent academic medical center and formed the Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI). Dedicated to translational research, TMHRI would employ a bench-to-bedside approach for “translating” laboratory findings into new diagnostics, therapies, and treatments for a range of diseases. To attract top talent, the institute brought in Baylor’s world-renowned pathologist and cancer researcher Dr. Michael Lieberman as its founding CEO and president and, soon after, New York–based Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) as design architect to help create this 430,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the Texas Medical Center (TMC).
With 49 institutions and over 34 million square feet of patient care, education, and research space, TMC is the largest such center in the world. Its dense urban landscape is dominated by architecturally unambitious structures. “For Methodist to hire us along with [executive architect] WHR was a big step,” says KPF principal Douglas Hocking, “because they had never really done modern buildings. It was part of their larger vision of where they wanted to be for the future.”
The team spent the first six months studying various sites on Methodist’s campus. The challenge became preserving a wide-open lot for a future hospital expansion (in which KPF is involved, but which is currently on hold), while finding a site that was physically connected to the hospital facilities — a crucial component of translational research. In a stroke of luck, the team found that a one-acre sliver of land, used as a vehicle drop-off for the hospital, could, if done artfully, accommodate the program. The team’s basic moves are simple: An east-facing glass-walled volume houses conference rooms and principal investigators’ (PIs) offices, while a precast-concrete bar to the west ties into the campus and holds the labs.
The client had a goal of accommodating about 90 PIs and 800 staff. Charged with recruiting an esteemed academic faculty, Dr. Lieberman worked closely with the architects and lab consultant to ensure the building would aid in this pursuit and address unforeseen future needs. As the project progressed, the program continued to evolve. “We reached the end of schematics,” says KPF principal Jill Lerner, “and then they added two floors.” The 12-story concrete structure supports six lab floors, with a surgical-training facility on the fifth floor and a 12th floor that will be fit-out as an amenity level as well as an FDA-regulated manufacturing facility for making therapeutics, vaccines, and imaging agents for use in human clinical trials.
On the lab floors, linear equipment rooms bridge research areas, while breakout spaces (double-height on the north and single-height on the south) link offices and labs and provide opportunities for people to connect. “We could design the offices and labs as pretty generic,” says Lerner, “since researchers were not in place.” Adds Hocking, “The big challenge was threading everything together, particularly at the ground plane.” An expansion of the Dunn building’s cafeteria helps connect the new research facility to the hospital, and a double-height shared lobby addresses the client’s requirement for entry points to both. It was also critical that the ground-floor imaging suite be easily accessed from both the lobby and the vivarium, which is located on the second level (because Houston is on a floodplain, many functions that would typically go below grade had to be raised). The basement houses a cyclotron and hot-cell and nuclear pharmacy facilities, which are protected by floodgates.
While the institute’s new home was completed in October 2010, upper floors are still being fit-out and will take shape as new researchers join the team. “The building makes a statement about the type of research we’re going to do here, which is very patient-centric,” says Edward Jones, TMHRI’s vice president of operations. “It’s also given us a chance to put a new face on the front of Methodist Hospital that reflects the changing culture here, where we’re going from being just a great hospital to becoming an academic medical center.”

Completion Date: October 2010

Total construction cost: $178 million

Gross square footage: 430,000 square feet


NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

Design Architect:
KPF, 11 West 42nd Street
NY, NY 10036
Tel. 212.977.6500  
Fax. 212.956.2526
Web www.kpf.com

Architect of Record:
WHR Architects
1111 Louisiana
26th floor, Houston, TX, 77002
Tel. 713.665.5665
Fax. 713.665.6213
Web www.whrarchitects.com

Associate Architect:
CO Architects,
5055 Wilshire Blvd,
9th Floor, Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Tel. 323.525.0500
Fax. 323.525.0955
Web www.coarchitects.com

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Design architect(s): KPF (Design Architect – Base Building Exterior and Public Spaces)
-- Jill N. Lerner, FAIA – Managing Principal
-- Douglas Hocking, AIA LEED AP - Design Principal
-- Michael Greene, AIA - Principal
-- Elaine Newman, AIA - Project Manager

Architect of record: WHR Architects (Executive Architect)
-- David H. Watkins, FAIA – Principal in Charge
-- Peter Lotz, AIA, NCARB – Project Manager
-- Jan Madey, AIA, LEED AP – Project Architect

Associate architect(s): CO Architects (Design Architect for the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education {MITIE} on Level 5’s Surgery Training facility)

Interior designer(s)
WHR Architects (Interior Finishes and Furniture)
Stanley Beaman & Sears (Interior Finishes for Level 1 3T MRI, PET/CT and SPECT/CT Imaging rooms)

MEP Engineers: Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

Structural Engineer: Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc.

Civil Engineer: Walter P. Moore & Associates, Inc.

Landscape Architect: Kudela & Weinheimer
Lighting: Pivotal Lighting Design
Acoustical, Vibration Consultant: Jack Evans & Associates, Inc.

Laboratory Planner: Jacobs Consultancy
Laboratory/Medical Equipment Planner: Genesis Planning, LLC
Geotechnical Engineer: Ulrich Engineers, Inc.
Parking/Traffic Consultant: Walter P. Moore & Associates, Inc.
Code/Fire Protection Consultant: Rolf Jensen & Associates
Wind Tunnel Testing Consultant: Ambient Air Technologies
Curtain Wall Consultant: Curtain Wall Design & Consulting, Inc.
Elevator Consultant: Persohn/Hahn Associates, Inc.
IT/AV Security Consultant: Datacom Design Group, Inc.
Graphics/Signage Consultant: fd2s, Inc.
Cyclotron Vault/Hot Cells Consultant: Carlos Gonzalez Consulting
Specific Lab Equipment Manufacturer: Getinge USA
Lab Casework / Fume Hoods Manufacturer: ThermoFisher Scientific / Valley City
Building Automation Systems / Controls: Johnson Controls, Inc.
RO Water Equipment / Heat Recovery Equipment: Gowan, Inc.
Cold/Environmental Room Equipment: Environmental Growth Chambers
Bio-Safety Cabinet Equipment: Biomedical Solutions, Inc.
Interior Epoxy Surfacing: Stonhard, Division of StonCor Group Inc.
Acoustical Ceiling/Radial Ceiling Panel Manufacturer: Armstrong World Industries
Vivarium Equipment Manufacturer: Techniplast USA, Inc.
RF/Magnetic Shielding Manufacturer: Lindgren R.F. Enclosures, Inc.
X-Ray Radiation Shielding Manufacturer: NelCo
Natural Stone: American Stone.
Architectural Pre-Cast Manufacturer: Redondo MFG, LLC
Curtain Wall Manufacturer: Baker Metal /Haley-Greer, Inc.
Point Supported Glass Manufacturer: Novum Structures LLC
Custom Cab & Wood Veneer Paneling Manufacturer: Brochsteins, Inc.
Systems Furniture: Haworth, Inc.
Furniture: Bernhardt Designs
Furniture: HBF
Carpet: Karastan Contract
Carpet: Tandus Design
Carpet: Cambridge Carpet

Construction Manager / General contractor: D. E. Harvey Builders

Joe Aker
Credit for photos is “© Aker Imaging, Houston, Texas”

CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Revit, AutoCAD



Exterior cladding: American Stone
Dimensional Stone Cladding: American Stone
Architectural Precast Concrete: Redondo MFG, LLC
Metal/glass curtain wall: Baker Metal Products, Fabricator
Curtian Wall Erection Contractor: Haley-Greer, Inc.
Concrete: Ceco Concrete Construction, Form Contractor

Built-up roofing: JR Jones Roofing/Firestone

Glass: Viracon
Point Supported Glass: Novum Structures

Metal doors: CECO

Wood doors: IPIK Door Co.

Locksets: Schlage

Hinges: McKinney

Closers: Norton

Exit devices: Von Duprin

Security devices: Schneider Electric

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Marek Bros, Armstrong
Suspension grid: Marek Bros, Armstrong
Demountable partitions: Agile Ofis
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Brochsteins, Inc.
Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams
Wallcoverings: Wall Talker
Paneling: Brochsteins, Inc.
Resilient flooring: Armstrong
Carpet: Karastan

Fixed seating: Figueras Auditorium Seating

Electrical Contractor: Fisk Electric

Elevators/Escalators: ThyssenKrupp

HVAC & Plumbing Contractor: Gowan, Inc.