Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine

Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center

Chicago, Illinois

Project Info
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, Illinois
Completion Date: 2018 (Phase 1)
Square Footage: 600,000 (Phase 1)

Following a national design competition, Perkins+Will was awarded the design of the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The new Research Center building will serve as a vibrant research hub at the core of Chicago’s world-class academic medical district. Northwestern requires 300,000-500,000 square feet of research space in the first phase of construction totaling 600,000 square feet, with an eventual build-out to 1.2 million square feet with the completion of Phase 2. The new facility will attract an additional $150 million in new biomedical research dollars annually, and its economic impact on the Chicago area is estimated at $3.9 billion over ten years.

The design creates space for synergy and collaboration, builds a seamless physical connection to Northwestern’s existing facilities and integrates with Streeterville’s dynamic urban setting. In its sculptural design, it reinforces Chicago’s progressive modern-architecture heritage and advances sustainable practices with green technology and design features that support environmental and personal health.

The research laboratories will inspire innovation, and provide the existing 550+ Principal Investigators and more than 3,000 graduate and medical students with state-of-the-art tools and the flexible environment they need to accelerate investigation and discovery. The curved and tapered building shape lets light and views into the existing labs in the Lurie building, while creating recognizable and definable neighborhoods with shared amenities to facilitate collaborative research.

The Perkins+Will research floor plan balances efficiency (lab module size, mechanical system organization) with flexibility (neighborhood size, locations of core and common elements). Support areas are located in zones adjacent to open lab environments. Offices are located on the building perimeter and adjacent to the labs, fostering easy movement between the two settings and allowing natural light to filter through offices into the lab. The building also features lab support space including a double-loaded Linear Equipment Room (LER), modular lab support blocks designed for each investigator specifically for his/her unique research requirements and research support space on the two basement levels.

A distinct entry portal and pavilions of activity at street level are designed to acknowledge and engage on a human scale. The building’s transparent skin harvests natural light while revealing glimpses of internal activity to passersby. The building connects the campus by way of the Robert H. Lurie building and the campus bridge network, but also encourages pedestrian movement between Superior and Huron via a multi-story lobby galleria. With its pedestrian plaza, winter garden, lobby galleria, food service area and roof garden at the bridge level, the Simpson Querry Biomedical Research Center activates space for the campus research community to come together. In its flexible conferencing suites and break/lounge areas, as well as collaborative spaces in lab neighborhoods, our design creates a dynamic, collegial environment in which important scientific discoveries will take place.