While there have been an number of multi-disciplinary research buildings created on major campuses across the nation, the idea of multi-institutional collaboration is setting a new precedent. Rice University BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) facilitates collaboration between researchers of different scientific disciplines from Rice University and various institutes from Texas Medical Center.
The facility is strategically located to serve as a bridge between the two adjacent campuses: bringing the inside of Rice University out to the adjacent community, engaging Texas Medical Center and welcoming the City of Houston.
At the heart of the BRC is a central “collaborative hub.” This cylindrical core, expressed in the building’s form, serves as the center of intellectual and social exchange in the building. This open-plan workspace brings together students who work with different principal investigators to promote cross fertilization of ideas. The hub is connected by double-height lounges accessed by open staircases which further encourage interaction. The “scientific marketplace” at the base of the building brings scientists from all floors together in shared core facilities, including imaging, vivarium, microscopy, classrooms and an auditorium, plus amenities such as retail, an outdoor plaza and cafés. Upper levels include an office and conference space, as well as computational and wet laboratories.
The BRC was designed to meet Gold LEED® certification criteria, including one of the largest Heat Wheel and Air Acuity installations implemented in a lab facility to date.