Shepley Bulfinch Designs Second University of Houston Health and Biomedical Sciences Building

Second phase of development will house UH College of Pharmacy and integrated health care center

HOUSTON – September 9, 2016 – The University of Houston has asked Shepley Bulfinch, a national architecture firm known for design excellence and innovation with offices in Boston, Houston and Phoenix, to provide programming, planning and designing services for the University’s Health and Biomedical Sciences Building 2 (HBSB2). This unique building is the second phase of development, following the successful completion of the University’s first Health and Biomedical Sciences Building (HBSB1), also designed by Shepley Bulfinch, in 2013. The addition of HBSB2 elevates this Carnegie-Designated Tier One public research institution’s capacity for rapidly advancing research and first-rate educational programs.

The new nine-story, 300,000 SF facility in the University’s biomedical district on campus is scheduled for completion in late 2017. HBSB2 will provide a new home for the College of Pharmacy and three floors of expanded research space for the Division of Research. These consolidated lab facilities will promote critical workforce training in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors while its flexible lab spaces will support transitional research and collaboration among pharmacological research groups. The new facility will feature specialized research and teaching labs, faculty offices, an expanded library and a mix of teaching spaces. The lower two floors consolidate previously scattered clinical and teaching programs into a welcoming multidisciplinary environment for the treatment of chronic conditions.

“This new home for our College of Pharmacy will allow our faculty to educate and train the next generation of patient care providers,” said College of Pharmacy Dean F. Lamar Pritchard. “In turn, these cutting-edge facilities will ensure our college maintains its legacy of excellence.”

Another important component of HBSB2 will be an integrated health care clinic to serve University of Houston faculty, students, staff and the surrounding community. The clinic will be made possible by partnering with a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that will have primary care, OB-GYN, family practice and pediatric physicians.

Shepley Bulfinch was presented with the need to foster agreement around a service model, develop a universal clinic exam room that would work for every clinic, and manage privacy. To do so, a full-scale cardboard mock-up was created for key rooms and UH staff members were invited to participate in a working session in order to reach consensus on room layout and size.

“This new facility will provide state-of-the art infrastructure and will allow us to increase faculty and student enrollment, faculty hiring and research funding. We’ll see enormous results from the construction and opening of this new facility,” said University of Houston Provost Paula Short, PhD. “It supports President Khator’s Tier One vision and the University’s efforts to be relevant in our community and regionally and nationally competitive.”

The two buildings, HBSB1 and HBSB2, are interconnected on five levels. The first three are for students and staff while the upper two are for researchers only. This interconnection facilitates circulation and connects like-minded programs in the two buildings: student with student; research with research; and clinic with clinic. A very tight site with access to loading and utility bays located right in the center of that site presented a unique challenge for the design team. Slanted concrete columns and careful coordination of fire separations and all utilities allows the connections between buildings to flow unimpeded.

“The success of HBSB1 and its seamless delivery from programming and design through completion has been recognized by our Facilities Planning and Construction group, the Administration and the building’s users,” said David Oliver, Associate Vice Chancellor and Associate Vice President for Facilities/Construction Management at the University of Houston. “By leading a collaborative design process, the Shepley Bulfinch team met requirements for an aggressive schedule and construction budget, and delivered the first iconic building for our emerging Health Sciences Center. We look forward to working with the Shepley Bulfinch team to deliver another successful project.”

Project team members include:

  • Construction management: Tellepsen Builders
  • Laboratory Design: Research Facilities Design (RFD)
  • Structural Engineer: Structures + Haynes Whaley
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (M/E/P) Engineer: E&C Engineers & Consultants, Inc.
  • Civil Engineer: Kuo & Associates
  • Landscape Architect: Asakura Robinson Company, LLC

About Shepley Bulfinch

Shepley Bulfinch is a national architecture firm known for design excellence and innovation. With offices in Boston, Houston, and Phoenix, the firm provides architecture, planning, and interior design solutions for leading institutions in academics and healthcare, as well as urban development and civic organizations. Practicing design that is an elegant synthesis of aesthetic, physical, and cultural influences, Shepley Bulfinch strives to advance design by sparking a dialogue with clients who are leading change in the built environment. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at @ShepleyBulfinch.


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