Ellenzweig designed the Abramson Pediatric Research Center for The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to consolidate the biomedical research activities of this prominent institution into one 13-story facility. When completed in 1995, the 429,000 gsf building accommodated more than 800 scientists and staff, making it one of the largest biomedical research centers in the country. Future growth was anticipated, however, and the building was designed to support a major expansion.
Ellenzweig designed a 120,000 gsf, nine-story addition to the building which was completed in 2003. Designed to blend seamlessly with the original structure, the addition expresses the same detailing, materials, and organization of the base building.
The complex program includes 87 research laboratories and related laboratory support for more than 1,200 scientists and staff, many of whom hold joint appointments at the Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania. Included in the building are a research animal facility, conference center, administrative offices, trustee boardroom, lounge and office space, cafeteria, and below-grade parking.
Flexibility was a major issue for a research facility of this scope, and is achieved with generic 12-person labs that can be alternatively configured for two or three researchers per 15-foot bench to accommodate smaller or larger research groups. The typical laboratory module allows for the future expansion of the research staff by up to 50 percent, from 12 to 18 researchers per module. Laboratories include in-lab support space, dedicated/shared support spaces, and specialized core lab facilities such as an NMR lab, a nucleic acid protein core, a cytogenetics lab, mass spectrometry lab, and an image analysis lab.
Designed to complement its surroundings, the exterior respects the surrounding campus buildings. Glass curtainwalls identify the laboratories; conference and seminar rooms occupy the transparent corner towers; detailed concrete panels mark administrative offices.