Where great minds collide to accelerate medical breakthroughs
On the first four floors, internationally renowned physicians are performing complicated procedures on patients needing stroke, cardiac and vascular care. On the top four floors, research teams are exploring novel treatment strategies to better serve the patient downstairs. And sandwiched between the two is an innovation center specializing in medical devices to treat vascular diseases — as well as a two-level collaborative core that brings all of these entities together to move new discoveries from the bench to the bedside.
In translational health environments like the Gates Vascular Institute and Buffalo Clinical Translational Research Center, proximity like this matters. Studies have shown that accessibility, visibility and walking distances significantly affect the frequency and location of face-to-face consultation and innovation outcomes. Recognizing this, we partnered with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo (UB) t to bring together some of the greatest medical minds in vascular health and related research to foster “creative collisions” to accelerate medical breakthroughs.
A two-story atrium on the fourth and fifth floor is the central hub of interaction and activity. In every possible way, the space encourages interaction, discourages isolation and brings together doctors and researchers in unique ways to collaborate. Both labs and conference rooms look out into this space, while an open staircase connects the floors to create an open and dynamic atmosphere.
For maximum flexibility to accommodate the fast pace of change within health and research, the structure is designed as a cube, with a universal grid structural system. The cube itself is wrapped on two sides with fritted glass that captures the spirit of energy and innovation, while baffles shade the glass curtain wall to the east and west to control heat transfer while admitting natural light. The flowing ribbons on the exterior convey a futuristic feel, but also allude to the study of vessels, appropriately. Inside, a modern design aesthetic mirrors the curvilinear form of the exterior and is filled with creative lighting, focal points, bright colors and warm woods that counterplay with the crisp neutrals of the building palette.
In addition to functioning as its own innovation ecosystem, the building fuels knowledge sharing with the rest of the medical center through physical bridges that encourage back-and-forth engagement. It has also played an important role in engaging with the surrounding community; it has revived a once-neglected part of the city and sparked a new cluster of development focused on healthcare, research and education. The building has fueled demand for new housing, and — with thousands of new employees, patients and students in the neighborhood —boosted the prospects of nearby businesses.
What’s on the horizon for the future of translational medicine?
Translational medicine is transforming the speed and methods of delivering innovative treatments for patients. How can design help foster better collaboration between doctors, researchers and other collaborators?
CannonDesign has created a place that will fundamentally transform our academic medical enterprise. The unique combination of interdisciplinary scientific and healthcare facilities will not only enable us to attract and retain the very best physician scientists, but provide a springboard to the new partnerships and income streams so necessary to compete effectively at a national and international level.
Michael E. Cain, MD, Dean, School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University of Buffalo
Through a unique public private partnership, project was delivered 2 years ahead of schedule with $20m of savings over traditional procurement.