PROJECTS > LABORATORIES > University of California, San Francisco Institute of Regeneration Medicine


Land is scarce on the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) campus, and as a result, the University was forced to select a very challenging site for their new stem cell laboratory building. The site, which is extremely difficult to access, slopes at up to 45 degrees in the transverse direction and follows a gently sloping curved roadway in the longitudinal direction. Developing a solution that minimized the impact on the site, thereby reducing difficult foundation work and impacts to existing utilities, became the driving force for the structural design. Rafael Viñoly Architects' vision was to have the building float above the sloping hillside, therefore, NYA developed a three-dimensional steel space frame to support this 600ft long serpentine-shaped building. The space frame serves as a platform to support the laboratories and offices above.



The client elected to base isolate the building for enhanced seismic performance. The building is an ideal candidate for isolation since it has limited support points and a 'natural moat' since it is essentially floating above the ground. The limited number of supports result in the need for just 24 base isolators and the natural moat avoids the need for costly moat covers around virtually the entire building, making base isolation a very cost-effective system.


NYA served as Structural Design Engineer for the Bridging Documents phase of this project which was be used for a design-build competition.


NYA served as the peer reviewer for the final design to ensure the structural systems and seismic performance goals were maintained.


The building was completed in December 2010.


This building has been accredited LEED Gold.
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