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The building provides state-of-the-art flexible open laboratories for Vanderbilt’s medical research faculty and a landmark on the Medical Center campus. The lack of available land led to a two phase facility, built on top of two existing structures. Phase one, which was built on top of an existing eight story brick building provided three floors of labs within thirteen months; phase two provided seven floors of labs spanning over an existing 1100 seat auditorium using 125’ long by 24’ deep post-tensioned concrete trusses. In addition support space for the auditorium and education facilities was added.

The large open labs and the use of modular casework make the labs easily adaptable to changing needs. The scientific collaboration encouraged by the open concept is reinforced by the break rooms and conference rooms which are placed in two story spaces at the connection of the two wings.

This project incorporates several important sustainable innovations, including: the open lab concept with natural day lighting, motion sensors, and other applications to reduce electrical demand. It also includes the first application in the US of a new HVAC system for labs which gained significant savings in both construction costs and life cycle costs. The building was designed to LEED standards, although certification was not pursued.

Medical Research Building IV – Phase I & Phase II
Vertical Addition and Overbuild of Existing Structures

Project Type:


New Construction
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Phase I: 130,000 GSF Phase II: 270,000 GSF
$122,000,000 Construction Cost - Phase I & Phase II
Phase I - January 2006, Phase II - May 2008
Not Pursued