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SUNY Upstate Medical University
Neuroscience Research Building

“1+1=1” is the formula for this addition to the Institute for Human Performance. It creates a single, united research environment—and reinvigorates SUNY’s research brand.

  • Location



    Practice area


Addition without compromise

The Neuroscience Research Building (NRB) doubles the size of the existing Institute for Human Performance. Additions to research facilities always pose a difficult design question: how do you add something new that feels integrated, but without compromising the quality of the existing building?

Our design accomplishes that goal, with the help of a sunlit atrium that zippers together new and old, and with innovative support spaces that improve function throughout the complex.

Wet and dry laboratories are planned to support molecular biology and neuroscience research. The original building’s labs were based on a “closed” room model which limited their ability to adapt to changing research programs. The NRB uses both open and closed lab models that are designed so they can flip; any lab that is open can be changed in future. Plug-and-play casework and ceiling quick-connects further enable flexibility for program shifts over time.

Mobile casework, overhead piped services, and planning for potential future partitions: the NRB labs are designed for flexibility.
“Ghost corridors” through closed and open labs create an internal research connection.
I can say, without a doubt, that this facility is as ‘state of the art’ as I’ve seen while still maintaining a logical, functional, and aesthetic space.
Robert QuinnDirector, Department of Laboratory Resources
Transparency in conference and break rooms facilitates engagement.

Engaging and connecting faculty

The addition is designed to brings together researchers from the new and existing buildings, creating a cohesive science community focused on disorders of the central nervous systems and the brain. Shared meeting spaces are located along the atrium, in the junction between new and old research areas. Openings between new and old, and transparency throughout the new addition, encourage visibility and participation. Clusters of faculty offices located at the ends of lab floors further support a collegial environment.

Project impact
  • 30%

    Water consumption reduction below baseline

  • 78

    SRI: solar reflectance of the high-albedo roof system, designed to address the heat island effect

The setting provides many opportunities for spontaneous interactions between faculty, which in my experience has resulted in increased opportunities for collaboration.
Dr. Wendy R. Kates, Ph.D.Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Upstate Medical University

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Project Team



Cermak Peterka Peterson

Cosentini Associates

Falk Associates

Pathfinder Engineers and Architects

Ravi Engineering & Land Surveying

R.W. Sullivan

Strategic Science & Technology Planners

Turner Construction Company

Vermeulens Cost Consultants

Watts Engineering


David Lamb Photography

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