UCSF Joan and Sanford I. Weill Neurosciences Building
Joan Young Park
Architect of Record: SmithGroup JJR
Landscape: Office of Cheryl Barton
The Joan and Sanford I. Weill Neurosciences Building will be a beacon for UCSF Mission Bay and a manifestation of the ambitious world-changing research and treatments that are envisioned within it. The project seeks to create a new environment for cross-disciplinary science and discovery, and incorporates a rich and diverse research, clinical and academic program.
Architecturally the building is conceived as a series of interlocked volumes with a four-story research block lifted above a transparent two story clinical volume. These principally programmatic moves are enlivened through powerful articulation of the forms to create a dynamic and welcoming environment that is illuminated and connected to nature.
The upper research block is clad in a glazed curtain wall, and wrapped by an architectural screen that can filter heat gain and glare while maximizing daylight for the occupants. The screen also acts as a unifying element for the building expressing the research functions and provides a level of privacy for staff and faculty within while creating a dynamic experience at the pedestrian level where views into the building will be revealed and concealed when moving through campus.
A central entry hall divides the building massing, to define the primary campus entry on 4th street and articulate the building into 2 program driven bars with a central space that brings natural light and social connectivity into the heart of the building. This central space is further articulated by the removal of the architectural screen, revealing the building’s town hall interaction spaces behind the highly transparent curtain wall. This creates a powerful and dynamic connection to the campus and provides a visually intriguing counterpoint to the natural landscape of Koret Quad that it faces.
A simple palette of materials is envisioned to express, support and reinforce the guiding design principles. Aluminum Composite Panels and Architectural Cast-In-Place Concrete expresses the building’s structural skeleton and provides a durable and dignified organizing element for building services elements including the loading docks. This treatment is carried through to the mechanical enclosures at the roof level and at the Paseo to create a unified, legible and holistic design expression of the building’s service zones in contrast to the glazed staff, faculty and public areas.