A “commitment to discovery” led The Ohio State University Medical Center to build a new world-class Biomedical Research Tower (BRT) in the heart of the university’s existing medical center complex. Standing 12 stories tall, the BRT is a visible symbol of Ohio State’s dedication to biomedical research.

Among the goals for the BRT was for it to be flexible and consistent. This rectangular building can accommodate evolving spatial, mechanical, and electrical systems as needed. It also utilizes a consistent system of vertical shafts for elevator and mechanical circulation and maintains structural consistency by using cast-concrete floors to minimize vibrations.

Built to attract and retain distinguished scientists and educators, and talented, inquisitive students, the lab space is flexible and open to allow for collaborative research. Modular, moveable workstations and wide, linear corridors offer researchers the flexibility to share equipment and core laboratories, promoting interdisciplinary interaction in these areas, as well as in the specialty areas of the building. These include a 250-seat multipurpose meeting space, various conference rooms, a café, and an interior arcade.

Outside, the north and south façades of the building incorporate red brick panels consistent with the surrounding buildings, while the east and west façades are light gray. Landscape amenities, shared building and service entries, and a second-level pedestrian walkway provide connectivity to the surrounding buildings, along with an underground tunnel which links a new subgrade vivarium to that of an adjacent building.

Project category: New construction (completed September 2006)

Chief administrator: Ralph D. Hudson, Administrative Director, (614) 293-0575

Firm: Karlsberger, (614) 461-9500

Design team: R. David North, AIA, Project Manager (Karlsberger) [Architect of Record]; Robert Venturi, FAIA, Design Architect (Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Inc.); Robert Lubalin, Laboratory Consultant (GPR Laboratory Consultants); Ted Athanas, MEP Engineer (Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers, LLC); Tim Prater, PE, MEP Engineer (Prater Engineering); Ken Bassett, Landscape Architect and Site Planner (Sasaki Associates, Inc.)

Photography: © Matt Wargo

Total building area (sq. ft.): 415,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $241

Total construction cost (excluding land): $100,000,000