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National Institutes of Health Surgery, Radiology and Lab Medicine Building

Bethesda, Maryland

As the world’s largest biomedical agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducts and supports research on the causes, diagnosis, prevention and cure of human diseases. The NIH’s new Surgery, Radiology and Lab Medicine (SRLM) Building facilitates this mission by providing scientists, physicians and patients with spaces that inspire, heal and propel innovation.

The NIH challenged HOK to design the SRLM to blend in with the rest of the Institute’s red brick campus and connect to the existing hospital. HOK’s design solution creates a building with three wings extending off a main bar. This multi-wing design breaks down the massing of the eight-story building and allows lightwells between the wings to draw natural light deep into the floor plate.

The new building includes surgical suites, patient rooms, research labs, offices, conference areas and collaborative workspaces. The project also includes an 82,000 sq.-ft. renovation of the main hospital’s clinical research wing. A new 780-vehicle parking garage has a utility vault to provide operational and emergency electrical infrastructure.

The SRLM will house the world’s most advanced clinical research technology. HOK developed a design strategy to ensure the building’s infrastructure can support today’s equipment and adapt to advancements in clinical research technology. The team designed two mechanical towers on the sides of the building for needed infrastructure. The mechanical towers showcase a lively parabolic pattern with tiles that can be easily removed to swap out mechanical systems with minimal interruptions to building operations.

To improve the health and well-being of SRLM occupants, HOK incorporated biophilic design elements throughout the building. Gardens and bioretention ponds at the base of the building’s wings collect stormwater from the roof and provide places of comfort and reflection for patients, visitors and employees. Window walls, lightwells and clerestories provide building occupants with restorative natural light and expansive views onto the gardens.

The SRLM places innovation and sustainability at the forefront. The abundant use of natural light and highly efficient mechanical systems have helped position the building to earn LEED v4 Gold certification.

630,000 sq. ft. / 58,530 sq. m.
The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design American Architecture Award 2023
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