Neuroscience Research Building

SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Quick-Disconnect Services and Open Lab

    Photo by David Lamb

  • Internal Lab Corridor

    Photo by David Lamb

  • Atrium Spine

    Photo by David Lamb

  • Level 4, Lab Floor

    Courtesy of Goody Clancy

  • Iridescent Façade

    Photo by David Lamb

In response to evolving needs and changing research emphases, a major addition to the Institute for Human Performance (IHP) at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University expands the research focus beyond human activity and rehabilitation to encompass exploration of disorders of the nervous system, including behavioral disorders, such as ADHD; diseases of the eye; and neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. The block-long, five-story Neuroscience Research Building doubles the size of the 1990s-era IHP and creates a single interdisciplinary science community.

The 31 labs support molecular biology and neuroscience research, comprising a combination of closed and open labs, wet and dry labs, and lab support. The new building enhances interaction and sharing of facilities with microarray, microscopy, and phenotyping cores, as well as space for a future cyclotron. Plug-and-play movable casework and piped overhead services provide a high level of flexibility. The facility includes a full-floor, 30,000-sf vivarium, as well as an imaging facility to support installation of MRI, PET, and other modalities. The vivarium is supported by a full interstitial floor for service access to systems without disturbing the animals. The layout of the vivarium, located on the building’s second floor, takes full advantage of its position on the site. Offices are clustered at the north end of the floor where daylight access is possible, whereas the southern half of this floor level is buried in the site’s sloping profile, which is advantageous for animal facilities, which generally do not require daylight.

New and existing lab floors are aligned to create a seamless link between the structures. The floor-planning approach for the lab floors (Levels 3 and 4) of the addition is a simple elongated rectangle in which the program is layered from east to west as a series of “strips” of lab, internal lab support, corridor, and shared support. The simple bar of new research space connects to the existing building with a two-story, linear atrium around which are clustered conference and break rooms, offices, and shared facilities to advance collaboration. A skylight runs the length of the atrium, filling the space with natural light. This allows optimal daylight penetration into the labs while organizing the program elements in a logical, efficient configuration. 

Clad in iridescent metal panels that provide color and variety, the new building (known locally as the “chameleon building”) intentionally contrasts with the brick original building to express its forward-looking program. The unconventional exterior of the addition is intended to give it a unique identity and to provide a more colorful image that stands out in Syracuse’s typically cloudy climate.

The addition is tracking LEED Silver.

[Project Profile data provided by Goody Clancy]

Project Data
Project Type: 
Expansion, Renovation
Completion Date: 
October, 2013
Syracuse, NY
Delivery Method: 
Multiple Bid Packages
Project GSF: 
Project NSF: 
Project Cost: 
Construction Cost: 
Building Descriptors: 
Interdisciplinary Research
Laboratory: Biomedical Research
Laboratory: Core
Laboratory: Dry And Wet
Laboratory: Research
Research: Biomedical
Goody Clancy
Associate Architect and LEED Coordinator
Pathfinder Engineers and Architects
Construction Manager and Advisor
Turner Construction
Construction Manager, Bid Package 1
LaChase Construction Services
Construction Manager, Bid Package 2
Northland Associates
Laboratory Planner
Strategic Science & Technology (SST) Planners Inc.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer
Cosentini Associates
Structural Engineer
Associated Structural Engineer, Bid Package 1
Ravi Engineering & Land Surveying
Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineer
R.W. Sullivan, Inc.
Civil Engineer
Cost Consultants
Falk Associates
Commissioning Agent
Genesys Engineering
Acoustical Consultant
Acentech, Inc.
Wind Dispersion Consultant
Cermak Peterka Peterson, Inc.
Daylight Consulting
Carpenter Norris Consulting
Lab Casework and Fume Hoods
Mott Manufacturing
Lab Water
Pure H2O Technologies
Published 6-10-2015