Firms Competing to Design New Medical School Present Their Plans

Published April 2, 2012

Four firms selected as finalists to design the new home of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus presented their proposals March 28.

The winner of the competition will be announced in early May, and a public reception and exhibition of all the proposals will be presented at that time.

Some of the World’s Most Notable Architects Competing

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The winner of the competition to build the medical school will be announced in early May, and a public reception and exhibition of all the proposals will be presented at that time.

While the March presentation was not open to the public, faculty in the UB School of Architecture and Planning provided overviews of the design teams, noting that the finalists represent an international shortlist of some of today’s most notable architects.

Their summaries are as follows:

Grimshaw Architects and Davis Brody Bond

Grimshaw Architects is “a leading global practice with experience encompassing architecture, infrastructure and industrial design,” said Annette LeCuyer, professor of architecture.

“Their work reflects a strong belief in building the public realm in the city, close attention to detailing and materials and an impressive commitment to sustainable design.”

The firm’s recent work includes an academic/social hub and 25-year master plan, both for New York University, a medical school and research center for University College London and a new mass transit center in Manhattan.

Grimshaw will partner with Davis Brody Bond architects and planners.

One of the nation’s leading architectural design firms, Davis Brody Bond designed the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center.

Known for innovative solutions to complex design challenges, the firm also has designed university facilities, housing and corporate offices, as well as industrial and institutional buildings, including research facilities for Columbia and Princeton universities.

HOK Architects

HOK is the largest U.S.-based multidisciplinary design firm and its second-largest interior design firm.

The firm has an outstanding reputation for planning and designing innovative educational and institutional facilities and campuses, including medical schools and hospitals, said Hiro Hata, associate professor of architecture.

HOK designed UB’s Biomedical Research Building, built in 1995 on the South Campus, and Cooke and Hochstetter halls on the North Campus, completed in 1977.

HOK is also well known for sustainable design, noted Hata, as well as the advancement of green architecture, communities and cities worldwide.

The firm designed the first airport terminal, stadium and juvenile detention center—all in the U.S.—to receive the internationally recognized green building certification, known as LEED.

HOK also designed the first LEED-certified project in Singapore and the first LEED Gold-certified building in Latin America.

Pelli Clarke Pelli Associates and Cannon Design

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, which teamed with Cannon Design on a proposal, is an internationally renowned firm that holds one of the deepest portfolios of any of the finalists.

“The firm’s work does not have a singular style, but it is modern with strong formal influences taken from the contexts within which they build and the types of buildings they are asked to design,” said Omar Khan, associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture.

Pelli architects took inspiration from local Islamic motifs in formulating the design for the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—until 2004, the tallest buildings in the world.

The firm designed the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Osaka, Japan, as a sculpture whose form alluded to reeds or bamboo stalks swaying along a riverbank.

“Pelli and Cannon Design present a formidable team, with tremendous experience, that has designed just about every type of building,” Khan said.

Rafael Vinoly Architects with Foit-Albert Associates

Rafael Vinoly Architects is known for its architectural projects around the globe.

These include the Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo, Uruguay; the Curve Theatre in Leicester, England; Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art; UCLA’s NanoSystems Institute; and CUNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, among others.

On this project, Vinoly has partnered with Foit-Albert Associates of Buffalo, one of the region’s best known firms and the winner of dozens of national design, engineering, historic preservation and planning awards.

Its university projects include the Alfiero Center, UB School of Management; Erie and Mason halls, Fredonia State College; Trinity Hall, Hilbert College; and the Campus Center, University at Albany.

Foit-Albert also designed Fletcher Music Hall and oversaw the restoration of Wensley Guest House and Fowler-Kellogg Art Center, all at the Chautauqua Institution.

Fifth Firm Withdraws from Competition

A fifth team—Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler Associates—withdrew from the competition after being awarded commissions to be constructed at the same time as the UB medical school.