A full-height atrium acts as a zipper between new and old, resolving differing floor heights and providing vertical connectivity. Multi-storey openings were carved into the original 1970's high-rise structure; glass bridges span the atrium like chandeliers, softening the existing medical building’s fortress-like façade and weaving together the two structures.
The atrium envelops the exterior open space to create a large, light-filled urban room that encourages socialisation and collegiality among students, staff and faculty throughout the year, shielding building users from Cincinnati’s four-season climate. Common amenities, such as dining, are placed within the atrium space or clustered at the entry level, evoking a 'town centre' atmosphere.
The program for the entire complex includes classrooms, offices, research and teaching labs, student services, an auditorium, bookstore, library, dining facilities, fitness center, recreational lounge, and support spaces. The project forms the heart of the precinct, which includes several other science and medical buildings.
The complex raises the standards for sustainable design in a laboratory environment. The new building is certified Gold; the existing building will achieve LEED Silver. Energy-efficient features include pass-through ventilation and a cogenerative heat recovery system for mechanical units. In addition, the nine-storey atrium is naturally ventilated, utilises recycled materials, and features a system that captures rainwater runoff for irrigation.