By Roxanne Squires
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Construction of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, a new state-of-the-art medical school center at the University of Buffalo (UB), is on schedule to be completed in the fall with a design that will eventually earn it LEED Gold certification.
Designed by the New York office of HOK, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Dean Michael Caine teamed with HOK’s architect Joshua Gardener and project architect Takwig Louie to bring together an approximately 628,000-square-foot, eight-story facility. The design includes the university’s children’s hospital, medical offices, medical school, and a clinical and translational research center. It also includes the Gates Vascular Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the existing Buffalo-Niagara campus operating in the central building.
“The intention is that there will be 1,200 faculty, students and administration in the building,” said David Schwartz, HOK’s project manager for the new medical center.
The new building will allow UB to increase its medical school class size from 144 to 180 students as well as add 100 new physician-scientists to the UB faculty. The project will also connect the facilities with sky bridges and a built-in rail station for convenient public access.
“We’re trying to create an environment where people can study in the building, then go see patients in the adjacent hospital or in the medical office building,” said Schwartz. “There should be bridges connecting those buildings in the future, and since we’re also connecting the train station, patients, staff and students will be able to come on this subway into the building and go onto other parts of the medical campus
Funded by private philanthropy and state support, the new $135 million medical center will create a close proximity foundation for higher education, medical care and research facilities. The goal for the project is to place UB and the Buffalo Niagara Medical campus on par with other academic medical campuses like Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
“This is a very unique opportunity for a medical school to build a brand-new facility adjacent to a medical campus,” said Schwartz.
The design of the building aims to meet standards to receive LEED Gold certification, with key green feature elements. “The biggest green feature element is the new synergy being created by bringing the campus next to the existing Buffalo General Hospital and the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital,” said Schwartz.
HOK takes pride in the design of the second floor of the building and the base of the atrium, which is also known as the “piano nobile,” featuring a high-performance terra-cotta rain screen and a glass curtain wall system. Schwartz explained that, in laboratories, energy use is one of the most important component elements to making a green building, with heat recovery being the primary driver.
“For safety purposes, exhaust fans operate 24/7 and recovering energy by the exhaust stream is critical,” Schwartz said. “Other elements include low-VOC and locally produced materials. The Terra Cotta on the façade is fabricated by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, which is located about a half hour from the site.”
Seven skylights incorporated into the design will also bring natural light into the atrium.
“While Buffalo can be quite grey at times, the level of natural light may be the most wonderful aspect of the new facility,” said Schwartz.
The medical center is slated to receive LEED Gold in 2018, and the design of the building is already encouraging the use of public transportation. In fact, this multi-purpose campus is expected to revitalize the downtown area of Buffalo.
“The medical school building will bring an estimated 2,000 UB faculty, staff and students to downtown Buffalo, daily increasing population density in the heart of the city while providing opportunities for retail and housing development, incubators, research parks and other economic development opportunities,” according to the school’s website.
Students will begin classes January 2018.