Exterior and plaza.

Exterior and plaza.

Credit: Courtesy ZGF Architects

Plans are under way for a new Biomedical Discovery District (BDD) on the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota, which will include 700,000 square feet of research space and house up to 1,000 scientists. Designed by Architectural Alliance and ZGF Architects, the 285,000-gross-square-foot Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building will serve as a front door to the larger district, and will house a shared research commons, researcher offices, laboratory spaces, and public areas such as a café and a seminar room. It will house a portion of the faculty and staff associated with the expanding cancer and cardiovascular research programs on campus. The majority of the skin is brick, and a curving curtainwall frames a public plaza, which serves as “the iconic element that forms the gateway to the district,” says Tim Williams, project manager at ZGF. Offices are located along the curving façade, which places them close to the building’s lab spaces, and creates a “greater connectivity” between the two, Williams adds. Now under construction, the building will open in 2013.