£167m hub for biomedical research near Palermo to be designed by HOK-led team
An international team of design professionals has been awarded the contract for the Ri.MED Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC) near Palermo, Sicily. The St. Louis and London offices of architecture practice HOK are working with Buro Happold (London/Milan), Progetto CMR (Milan), De Cola Associati (Palermo) and Eupro (Ragusa) on the £167m scheme which is due to open in 2016.
Beating out thirteen other teams from around the world, the HOK-led design suggests a global hub for biomedical research and development arranged as a close-knit community where visibility and the potential for collaboration between users are paramount. Bill Odell, FAIA, Design Principal for the project and HOK’s Director of Science and Technology explains: “Every aspect of HOK’s design is intended to encourage this critical networking, interaction and communication.”
Flexible workspaces are included as standard and wide panes of glass allow for enhanced visibility in adjacent laboratories and documentation areas. These lab units are split into four wings on three floors and are supported by a variety of formal and informal workspaces for additional collaboration and exchange of ideas. A central conference centre, auditorium and commons building add another level to the basic workspaces and are located near to the faculty club café, patient trial clinic and incubator labs for easy patient access.
Vice President of the Ri.MED Foundation Bruno Gridelli explains: “The biotechnology and biomedical research centre will generate exciting scientific discoveries that will translate into new and better cures and bring great social and economic benefits to Sicily and Italy. The dynamic and flexible design for the centre that HOK has developed will create the ideal work environment for Ri.MED scientists.”
It is hoped that the bold new architecture will increase the institution’s appeal to world-class research staff who will in turn aid the Ri.MED Foundation in their mission to prevent or cure diseases while improving the quality of life and life expectancy of patients. In time, plans for a hospital and medical school are to be put in place.