In Portland’s South Waterfront, the Knight Cancer Research Building at Oregon Health & Science University is using a “team science” approach to help scientists and researchers find cures to cancer. Designed by Seattle-based design firm SRG Partnership, the cancer research facility features wellness-focused workspaces that encourage collaboration and innovation across different disciplines. As a beacon of sustainability, the building has also been certified LEED Platinum for its use of non-toxic, Red List-free materials and for achieving 38% greater energy efficiency and 68% reduced water use as compared to standard lab buildings. 

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Home to over 600 employees from different scientific disciplines, the 320,000-square-foot Knight Cancer Research Building includes seven stories of wet labs, computational biology facilities, research core services, a 300-seat auditorium, a conference center, ground-floor retail and underground parking for 77 cars. Two floors of the building are also occupied by the Center for Early Detection Research, the first large-scale early cancer detection program of its kind. The research facility is strategically located at the heart of a pedestrian-oriented hub easily accessible by multi-modal transit.

Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing

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lab with computers

To promote cross-disciplinary research, the building’s research floors follow an open neighborhood concept where team spaces are shared, visibility and collegiality is enhanced with glass partitions, laboratories follow non-hierarchical design and wet and dry labs are placed side by side. The architects have also inserted diverse gathering spaces throughout the building for spontaneous interactions that include a central kitchen, an auditorium, a social lounge and a rooftop terrace as well as other informal seating areas and social hubs.

people working in a lab
tables and chairs under wood ceiling covered in twinkle lights

Floor-to-ceiling glazing floods the building with natural light while a sawtooth-shaped configuration of windows along the south elevation frames views of the Willamette River and Tilikum Bridge. Balconies and outdoor terraces further the building’s indoor-to-outdoor connections. The Knight Cancer Research Building was designed entirely with BIM to optimize energy-efficient operations. 

+ SRG Partnership

Photography by Brad Feinknop Photography and Christian Columbres Photography via SRG Partnership

outdoor balcony with tables, chairs and benches