June 18, 2021

Washington University School of Medicine Building New Neuroscience Research Facility

We are deeply proud to be helping Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis create its new neuroscience research building. It will house visionary teams advancing neuroscience research, with special focus on fighting, curbing and ultimately eradicating major neurological and neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 1 billion people worldwide are affected by neurological disorders, with as many as 50 million people suffering from types of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and believed to contribute to 60 to 70 percent of total cases. These diseases significantly limit individuals’ ability to care for themselves, remember loved ones and enjoy life, while impacting people worldwide, regardless of age, sex, education or income.

WUSM has been at the forefront of fighting neurological disorders for years. In the past few months alone, the school has announced a new grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will focus on how Alzheimer’s develops in the brain and another focused on further identifying its genetic foundation. 

Washington University School of Medicine Neuroscience Research Building Animation from CannonDesign on Vimeo.

The 600,000 gsf facility is designed to fuel this important work and ensure boundless collaboration and accelerated discovery. The above animation is an exciting new look at the project.

We (Architect of Record) are excited to deliver this project in partnership with Perkins+Will (Design Architect) and McCarthy (General Contractor). As the new epicenter for WUSM’s fight against debilitating neurological conditions, this building will be centered around collaboration and team science. Speed and effectiveness are priorities within the building; researchers will be organized by theme rather than departments, facilitating deeper translational research partnerships across health, academia and industry. 

“When a team designs a building like this, there are numerous scales of detail to consider: from the specificities of a particular lab, to the needs of the broader academic and research context, to the surrounding neighborhood and community,” said David Polzin, CannonDesign’s Executive Director of Design, who has been involved with the project from its inception. “Along with WUSM, we’ve always kept the big picture in mind. These are some of the smartest people in the world trying to stop neurological disorders in their tracks. The discoveries inside this building will have a global impact and echo for generations.

“We are always seeking to design spaces where people can flourish and this project offers that on myriad levels,” David continued. “We can help researchers collaborate in new ways and excel at their work, so millions of people can live longer, healthier, higher-quality lives. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be part of that future.”

The building in progress is located at the heart of St. Louis’ medical community and the city’s Cortex Innovation District. Researchers from different departments, including neuroscience, neurosurgery, psychiatry and other associated fields, will all use the space to contribute to its overarching mission. The state-of-the-art building also serves to help WUSM attract and retain leading researchers and secure new grants.

“One of the most inspiring aspects of our work with WUSM has been meeting their people, their teams — they exude such incredible passion when it comes to defeating disease. It is impossible not to be inspired by their commitment and their work,” added Trevor Calarco, CannonDesign’s Science & Technology lead for the project.

Ground has been broken for the building, and it is on track for completion in 2023.