Saunders Research Building – University of Rochester, NY

  • 2008-2011
  • Type: Research Building
  • Size: 200,000 sq ft
  • Construction budget: $60 million

The Saunders Research Building is home to the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, a multidisciplinary group whose goal is the application of basic science discoveries to improve human health.  The buildings interior organization and design provides spaces for promoting teamwork and collaboration with small informal meeting spaces,   common areas for lunches and impromptu gatherings, as well as larger conference rooms of varying sizes.

The 200,000 square foot building was recently completed, after a two-year construction period, in the spring of 2011.  It’s construction budget was $60 million dollars and is currently slated to be certified LEED Gold.  It was also Francis Cauffman’s first project to be fully documented in Revit among all disciplines.  Bergmann Associates out of Rochester was the structural engineer and BR+A from Boston was the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer.

LEED and sustainability were a driving force in the design of the building.  The building orientation and footprint maximizes exposure to daylight.  Large continuous windows wrap around the facade and include soffits which extend their height to also maximize sunlight exposure.

Cold, snowy New York winters also factored into the building design and detailing.  All horizontal surfaces have been considered for large snow buildup and provisions such as steeply sloped surfaces and tall, continuous curbs were provided.   Radiant heat panels in the ceiling perimeter also help to negate colder windows and keep occupants comfortable.  The R value of the exterior walls was  an R-22, which at the time, was almost double the code required insulation value.

The opaque areas of the building facade are mostly brick to respect a conservative and historical campus context.  The brick construction is a fairly standard brick cavity wall construction.  It consists of light gauge metal framing, sheathing board, a spray applied air and vapor barrier, 3″ rigid insulation, air space and longer norman sized face bricks.  Due to the continuous windows, the facade was supported overall by a steel facade support system that spanned column to column.

My role on the project for Francis Cauffman was the project architect.  During documentation I oversaw a team of 4 who focused on designing and detailing the interior core and exterior shell.  I was responsible for coordinating the project with our consultants as well as our own interior design team who was responsible for interior programing, fit-out and finishes.  During the construction phase  I handled all architectural responsibilities including field observation and site visits.