Emory Unveils Largest Health Sciences Research Building in Georgia

An important moment in the history — and future — of research at Emory University occurred Wednesday afternoon when a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new Health Sciences Research Building II, the largest facility of its kind in Georgia.

Already widely regarded as one of the world’s top research institutions, Emory broke ground on the Health Sciences Research Building II (HSRB-II) in 2019 to further advance its medical research by creating a cutting-edge space that fosters the collaboration between researchers working to solve the most complex problems of human health.

The new eight-story, 350,000-square-foot building will house more than 1,000 researchers, including 130 principal investigators, from a variety of specialties including: pediatrics, biomedical engineering, the Winship Cancer Institute, cardiovascular medicine, the Emory Vaccine Center, radiology and the health of the brain.

“This magnificent facility will play a powerful role in fulfilling Emory’s mission to create, preserve, teach and discover,” said Ravi I. Thadani, MD, MPH, Emory’s executive vice president for health affairs, during the ceremony. “This building will facilitate breakthroughs and discoveries in the health sciences that will transform patient care and serve as a training ground for the next generation of clinicians and researchers.”

The $313 million cost of the project was funded in large part by a $200 million gift from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, as part of a total $400 million gift to Emory University in 2018—the largest gift in the history of the 187- the annual -old university.

Construction of the facility – which was designed by global architecture firm HOK and engineered by JE Dunn to incorporate features of the Francis Crick Institute in London – began in March 2020 and includes 6.8 million pounds of structural steel, 1.1 million pounds of Portuguese marble and 31,315 cubic yards of concrete.

The building’s design includes a natural light-filled central atrium with a living five-story green wall, a café, large digital screens for collaboration, innovation spaces, and formal and informal meeting spaces designed to encourage collaboration. Core facilities include advanced imaging (7-T MRI), flow cytometry, high-level containment facilities, automated biorepository and genomics.

With sustainability in mind, HSRB-II is designed to use 5-10% less energy than typical research facilities, which is equivalent to powering more than 100 homes. These sustainable design strategies include a daylighting approach for all occupied spaces; automated sunshades to mitigate heat; array of solar panels; microgrid energy management system; a green-roofed plaza along the side of the building facing Emory’s Lullwater Preserve; geothermal well field under surface parking lot; permeable pavement for surface parking; and a rainwater harvesting system.

“This is an exceptional facility and a commitment to our belief in people and to the mission of Emory’s Woodruff Health Sciences. It represents the connection and integration of core mission, scientific discovery and innovation to improve patient care,” said David Stevens, MD, vice president for research at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. “You want to walk through this building and be in it, you don’t want to just ride the elevator. It will attract and retain outstanding scientists and learners…but more importantly it will reduce the burden of disease and keep people healthy.”

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