The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies

Frank Gehry
One of the newest buildings to become part of the University of Cincinnati's campus is the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, a state-of-the-art disease research facility. Inside the $46 million, 150,000 sq ft (13,936 m2) facility, premier medical researchers recruited from around the country will study brain cancers and other neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and epilepsy. They will be pursing medical breakthroughs for these and other cancer and blood diseases at the molecular level. Behind its unusual exterior is a concrete frame that was designed and constructed from the architect's scale model, using three-dimensional computer modeling and design software. Signature architect for the project, Frank Gehry of Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Santa Monica, California, described the building as "a box cracked open with offices running through," according to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The first floor plan is roughly in the shape of a "plus sign," with two long laboratory wings (an office wing and an auditorium wing). The exterior walls have a 'sculpted" rather than a "constructed" shape.

. The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies - Health Architecture The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies - Health Architecture

A butterfly-shaped cruciform plan surrounds a skylighted atrium with a sweeping staircase, administrative offices and meeting rooms to encourage the exchange of ideas. The wings contain rectangular 20-foot tall laboratories with overhead catwalks that make their mechanical services easy to rearrange; researchers' offices line the shorter east-west axis. These work spaces are all surrounded by bulging brick walls that burst through the skin here and there as "innies" and "outies" with gridded glass and aluminum window planes that light and reveal the activity inside.

The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies - Health Architecture


The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies - Health Architecture



No two sections of the Vontz Center look the same, but here is one example in which the interstitial space seems to be greatly deduced at the instance of this sectional slice.


The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies - Health Architecture








"I like to think that when people come here and start working, they'll realize that someone loved them. They'll feel it, and they'll understand that care was taken and people thought about how it feels to be in a building."
Frank Gehry

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