Biomedical Research Lab Building

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

The first purpose-built, all-electric academic research lab building in New York City, the new Biomedical Research Building expands Columbia University’s research capacity with laboratory and office space while reducing energy consumption.

The project aligns with the University’s Plan 2030 climate goals to introduce no new fossil fuel infrastructure into campus buildings. Rising eight stories, the building houses biomedical research and lab facilities, as well as symposium and community engagement spaces.

Designed to use significantly less energy than similar buildings of its kind, the project outperforms emission limits set by New York City’s Local Law 97. This is achieved through diverse sustainable design strategies executed via a series of mechanical, architectural, and operational interventions. Heating and cooling are handled by electric air source heat pumps (ASHPs) that allow for energy recovery between the heating and cooling fluids to provide periods of free tempering during the year. Similarly, air-side energy recovery systems leverage waste heat to reduce the total energy needed to condition the building. A high-performance façade features an optimized window-to-wall-ratio below 50%, while strategic exterior shading and a system of louvers help minimize solar heat gain and glare. The building is expected to perform 30% more efficiently than the ASHRAE 90.1 2010 standard.

Creating a unified academic and research facility, the project connects to the Columbia University School of Nursing and Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion. The design integrates biophilic elements such as green walls and natural, renewable materials in collaboration spaces, while a large connecting stair encourages active circulation. Corner lounges promote connectivity and inspiration among researchers. This ethos extends to the community engagement spaces, where inclusive design at street level connects the research institution to the city and puts science on display.


New York, NY, USA


Columbia University


Research + Healthcare


7,500 m2 / 81,000 ft2

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Project Type:Research + Healthcare
Project Location:Americas