Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

with Perkins + Will

Located in the Streeterville neighborhood of downtown Chicago, the Feinberg School of Medicine is a medical research laboratory designed to connect to an existing lab building and provide a cutting-edge research environment, including sustainable features such as a double-skin façade and innovative water re-use.

Sloped ceilings at the perimeter of the lab floors are indirectly illuminated from custom-detailed troughs integrated into the curtain wall system, creating a comfortable visual environment for building occupants and a dynamic nighttime presence for the building. Direct-indirect pendants pair with task lights mounted to the top shelf of laboratory casework, reducing energy consumption by targeting high illuminance levels only where necessary. The melding of light and architecture continues on the public floors. In the all glass Wintergarden, luminaires seamlessly connect to the structure supporting the glazing, providing illumination for general use and special events. In the lecture hall, perimeter cove lights concealed above the wavy wood ceiling graze the wall opposite a glass façade, balancing vertical brightness and separating architectural planes. Throughout the building, sophisticated lighting controls, including daylight-responsive dimming and occupancy sensing, reduce lighting power consumption. Individually addressable luminaires allow for future space reconfiguration.

The project consists of 13 stories for 600,000 sq ft, with the potential for a later second phase. Atelier Ten assisted the design team in detailing sustainable design solutions for opaque wall assemblies, fenestration, and shading design.

Atelier Ten optimized the building façade for occupant comfort and reduced peak cooling loads. Solar radiation and daylight analyses optimized the facades, including a 30-story double-skin on the south façade. Atelier Ten studied the daylighting conditions at the south facing work spaces adjacent to the double skin façade to devise shading strategies. By testing variations of the façade’s internal cavity blinds, Atelier Ten developed schedules for the deployment of blinds and interior shades for optimal illuminance levels in work areas, minimizing the potential for visual discomfort.