Project category: New construction (completed September 2005)

Chief administrator: Francesco Ramirez, PhD, Director, (732) 235-9534

Firm: Hillier Architecture, (212) 629-4100

Design team: Steve Gifford, Principal-in-Charge; Andrew Buchsbaum, Design Director; Robert DeGenova, Lab Planner; Bruce Corke, Project Manager; Dan Morris, Architect; Len Groom, Architect

Photography: © Barry Halkin Photography; Jeff Tryon, Hillier Architecture

Total building area (sq. ft.): 150,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $373

Total construction cost (excluding land): $56,000,000

The Child Health Institute of New Jersey at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is among the country's most comprehensive biomedical research centers focusing on the genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors in human growth and development. Its emphasis is on prevention, treatment, and cure of childhood diseases. The research and development facility includes laboratories, office and administrative space, a transgenic gene targeting facility, and a vivarium.

The firm's initial concept design for the Child Health Institute was developed to help launch a $40 million fund-raising campaign and to secure a grant from the National Institutes of Health for the research vivarium. This concept design helped the Child Health Institute to successfully fund its visionary program.

This 150,000-sq.-ft., six-story building embraces the city of New Brunswick, creating a gateway into the medical campus and providing an opportunity for researchers, clinicians, children, and their family members to meet and share their work, aspirations, and hope.

Designed to help children, the Child Health Institute promotes collaboration between experts in research and clinical care. Putting doctors, patients, and researchers together in one building serves several purposes. It gives patients and their families hope to know that just upstairs leading scientists are working on cures for their disease. It also promotes collaboration between doctors and scientists, and that sharing of ideas, studies have shown, can help speed discoveries of new medicines and cures for some of our most enduring childhood diseases.

The building includes an ambulatory care center for pediatric subspecialties, faculty offices for the pediatricians, and a pediatric clinical research center. The public spaces at the Child Health Institute are designed to promote informal meetings. In the lobby there's an exhibition space where researchers can show their latest work. Off the lobby, there's a colonnade and outdoor courtyard—a pleasant place to talk. Also on the lobby floor, scientists and doctors conduct clinical trials on new drugs. The second floor, playfully designed in a discovery theme to welcome kids, serves as the outpatient clinic. The third and fourth floors house labs for researchers specializing in diseases affecting children.

The firm worked closely with a diverse group of constituents, including an independent research foundation, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Department of Pediatrics, an affiliated but separate hospital, and the City of New Brunswick's Development Authority, bringing together the unique needs of each group and providing a world-class design solution.