Dennis marsico (inset photo by astorino)

Dennis marsico
Project category: Addition (completed April 2007)

Chief administrator: Anthony J. DeFail, President and CEO, (814) 333-5525

Firm: Astorino, (412) 765-1700

Design team: Complete Architecture and Engineering (MEP, Structural, Telecomm, and Security), Astorino; Laboratory Consulting Services, Jacobs Consultancy; Vivarium Design, SmithGroup; General Contractor, Massaro Corporation

Photography: Dennis Marsico; Astorino

Total building area (sq. ft.): 66,783

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $344

Total construction cost (excluding land): $23,000,000

Dennis marsico
Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI), one of the first research centers to focus on health issues specifically related to women and infants, contracted Astorino to design a $23-million, 66,783-sq.-ft. addition that more than doubles the Institute's previous space.

Situated on a tight urban site in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood, the seven-story concrete reinforced structure was originally an office building with extremely low floor-to-floor height. Before occupancy, MWRI added a mechanical equipment room adjacent to the building to accommodate the laboratory retrofit.

The expansion project is built around the mechanical equipment shaft, which services both the existing facility and the addition. MWRI now houses five floors of flexible space, including laboratory and computer workstation accommodations; sterilization facilities; staff offices; a state-of-the-art, 75-seat conference center; and a new handicapped-accessible lobby.

Generic laboratory floors provide each investigator with mobile bench space, a computer station along the north wall, and service provided via flexible hoses with quick-connects through the ceiling. The sixth and seventh floors house additional specialty labs, an imaging suite, an additional tissue-culture room, and a large conference center.

The offices for principal investigators are connected to the main lab spaces by linear equipment rooms. Special purpose rooms, including tissue-culture rooms, fume hood, and special procedure rooms, are located off of the linear equipment rooms.

The building envelope serves as a visual gateway to the Oakland community and is complementary to the existing building while projecting an image reflective of the innovative research going on inside.