The Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care is designed to accommodate and facilitate MD Anderson’s reorganization strategy, moving from a departmental to an interdisciplinary structure of programs, centers and institutes. Just as MD Anderson strives to redefine cancer research through its targeted “moonshots” program, so, too, the Zayed Building reinterprets the typical research laboratory typology to promote this new, translational research aimed to accelerate development of treatments and cures. As MD Anderson “makes cancer history,” the building is designed to accommodate multiple tenants, in wings that can be fit out as wet and dry labs as well as offices.
Next-generation scientists, emerging technologies, and translational cancer research impel a design which concentrates functional elements into discrete forms, providing a formal expression of a new “warehouse” environment for research and discovery. Further, the building form and massing fits the triangular configuration of the site, responding to varying contextual site relationships, while creating a public presence through a contemporary glass building, contrasting the older brick buildings on campus. Four wings house either offices or labs, and spring from a central hub. Spaces between the wings are also important, creating entrances, pocket parks and receiving areas.
With scientists’ offices co-located within office wings, scientists from various programs are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary collaboration. Laboratory wings contain open laboratories to allow for flexibility and adaptability over time, and for efficient engineering solutions, while the central hub acts as a living room and communal focus, with a central communicating stair connecting floors. The relatively narrow wings—made possible through a new laboratory module and arrangement of core facilities--allow light deep into the floor plate, views from inside to outdoors, and are designed to transition from lab to office, and office to lab, as dictated by future requirements.