New Georgetown Life Science Building and Future Medical Expansion
If committing to funding a new research building weren't daunting enough, try doing it on a dense urban campus in an historic neighborhood in our nation's capital. This is the situation of Georgetown University, located in northwest Washington DC on the Potomac River. The Georgetown Independent aptly calls the challenge a "massive logistical nightmare." Yet buildings do go up, and more are always under construction and in the pipeline, as evidenced by the latest Campus Plan submitted by the University to the city's Planning Department yesterday.
(New science building rendering courtesy of Georgetown University)
Rising on campus right now, and due to open in 2012, is the much-anticipated new science building (as yet un-named) that will replaced the 50-year-old Reiss Building. The difference between the two structures demonstrates a revolution in thinking about how scientists should work. In the Sputnik-era facility, departments and individual labs were thoroughly separated - often by concrete. Windows were unpopular, and conference rooms weren't considered particularly important. Today, interdisciplinary work and collaboration are key, and not just in theory: the actual physical spaces are designed to foster exchange of ideas. Labs are open to each other, common areas are liberally placed to encourage interaction (white boards included), natural light is plentiful, and - significantly - offices are grouped together by subject rather than by department.
This open lab concept was chosen by Georgetown after a team of their scientists visited other campuses with new facilities to get a first-hand view of what works. It was also a condition of the funding, to some degree. In January 2010 Georgetown received a $6.9M grant from the NIST to use toward construction of its new science building, specifically so it could house a new, inter-disciplinary Institute of Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology, a collaboration between the physics and chemistry departments.
Still on the horizon are major expansion plans for Georgetown's University Hospital complex, including, according to the Independent:
450,000 additional square feet
Large new hospital building over a current parking lot
An addition to the Lombardi Cancer Center
Rebuilding of the doctors' office building
350-600 space parking garage
Plus additions to the School of Medicine, to include:
Pre-clinical science addition
Basic science expansion
Two infill structures between wings of an existing H-shaped building
All of this future development will dramatically reshape the north end of campus, as illustrated in the graphic below, where yellow indicates Medical/Health Care buildings.
If you are a supplier of life science laboratory equipment and would like to meet researchers, purchasers, and other industry representatives in the DC/Georgetown community, plan to attend Biotechnology Calendar's 12th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event on the Georgetown University Campus this June 16, 2011.
(Campus plan map courtesy of Georgetown University)