UCSF Mission Bay Campus Genentech Hall

The Mission Bay Campus' Founding Building
Some people argued for a quick and dirty biotech design that we'd tear down in 25 years. But universities have a sense of history. We want the building to last.
Regis Kelly, Executive Vice Chancellor, UCSF
San Francisco, California
University of California San Francisco
415,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

The 435,000 square-foot, five-story Genentech Hall was the first building constructed on University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) new campus at Mission Bay. Part of a new 43-acre research and teaching campus, the biomedical research facility is designed to enable quick and flexible changes to laboratory configurations and services to accommodate the changing field.

Genetech Hall's façade consists of travertine stone and a full height glass curtain wall incorporated into a five-story lobby atrium. Two main laboratory wings are located north and south of the building's spine. Research at Genetech Hall encompasses molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, structural biology, and the Center for Advanced Technology. As such, lab and office space is configured in “neighborhoods” with common areas that serve as hubs and gathering places. The hope is that this informal contact will lead to an exchange of ideas that will ultimately inspire new ways of doing science.

One of the most prominent features is the over 11,000 square feet of vivarium space on the first floor. The vivarium can securely house up to 6,000 cages of small mammals for biomedical research. Parallel corridors with cage rooms allow a number of bio-security levels to be operated simultaneously. The vivarium's ventilation and exhaust systems are separate from the general building and laboratory systems to prevent a potential backflow of contaminated air.

The vivarium is served from an interstitial floor directly above it. This service floor houses the dedicated HVAC equipment and ductwork, as well as the plumbing and electrical systems, which are continually monitored by a building automation system. This system allows individual adjustment of air temperature and pressure for every room in the vivarium. The building also includes a lab waste piping system, ducted supply and return exhaust system for lab venting, and process gas piping.

Due to the seismic conditions in San Francisco and the poor quality of soil in Mission Bay, the Clark team created a deep pile foundation. Moreover, the upper laboratory floors required sufficient stiffness to limit vibrations that may effect sensitive equipment such as 400x optical microscopes, electron microscopes, microbalances and optical balances. Typical lab floors and beams are built to limit vibrations from a typical walker to 2,000 micro-inches per second.

Best Real Estate Deals - Best New Office, San Francisco
R&D Magazine - Lab of the Year