The five-story Rock Hall houses seven scientific neighborhoods where researchers investigate fields ranging from human genetics and developmental biology to neurobiology. The 170,965-sf building, named for Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock, is located on the University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay campus and is part of the largest biomedical university research expansion in the country.
Upon entry, the atrium provides a space for interaction among the researchers and allows a visible connection between the researchers and staff on different floors. The main circulation stair is open and, along with communal gathering spaces, facilitates interaction among the nearly 400 scientists, graduate students, and post-docs who occupy the $89-million building. Three, 200-sf skylights top the atrium.
The first floor houses administrative spaces, mechanical and support space, and a portion of the animal facility. The main portion of the vivarium is on level two along with one laboratory neighborhood. More than 10,000 zebra fish and hundreds of thousands of fruit flies occupy the vivarium. Level two also includes a microscopy core, a histology core, animal space, and common conference and break areas. Levels three, four, and five each contain two laboratory neighborhoods, one on each side of the building.
While each neighborhood functions somewhat independently, common specialized lab space at the center of the building brings researchers together and enhances interaction. The space is shared by all building occupants and includes conference rooms and break areas.
Laboratory spaces can easily be reconfigured depending on the needs of changing research programs. The core of the lab neighborhood consists of two large open lab spaces set in an "L" shape. Common office and meeting space are located at the center of the "L". The 10'-6" lab module provides a 4-foot desk and 6'-6" of dedicated bench space for each researcher. Bench space is grouped for two users per side and each lab neighborhood can accommodate up to 24 researchers and technicians. Additional space is provided for sinks and shared equipment. Electrical services are provided by an extruded aluminum raceway mounted on a shelf above the bench. Gas, air, and vacuum are provided to all lab areas by standard bench fittings. Nearby, modular support rooms contain specialized functions and equipment including microscopy, tissue culture, and chemical fume hoods. Moveable tables and adjustable shelving allow the support rooms to be easily configured for specialized requirements. Equipment corridors link the support rooms and provide additional space for the variety of equipment necessary for contemporary research.
Throughout the building spaces are designed to facilitate both structured and spontaneous interaction. Each lab neighborhood contains a common kitchen/break/interaction area and a small, more formal meeting space. In addition to the shared lab support space, at the center of each level are common meeting space, break areas, and library/reading rooms. The meeting space, which can be expanded into the break area, provides a full assortment of audio/visual equipment including ceiling-recessed project screens, wall-mounted marker board systems, and connection points for computer and display equipment.
A 76-seat seminar room on the first level contains a dedicated projection room, a recessed motorized projection screen, a podium with computer and system control capabilities, and an integrated marker board for lectures. An underfloor electrical and data distribution system provides power and data connections to all fixed seats in the seminar room.