Buck Center for Research in Aging


Year:
2000
Location:
Novato, California

Buck Center for Research in Aging is a laboratory complex dedicated to the sociological and biological research on the quality of life of the aged.  Pei Cobb Freed & Partners designed the buildings and Suzanne Musho functioned as the Lead Designer for the laboratory Buildings.  Clad entirely in travertine, with skylights puncturing every surface, light is brought into all atria as the buildings work off each other surrounding a hexagonal shaped garden.  Scientists work together and converse, throughout the complex, regardless of their discipline.  This bespeaks of the successfulness of the architecture as an element that promotes creativity and invention.  This complex is located on Mount Burdell in Marin County, California.

The two building complex was built as the first phase of a five building Master Plan.  The Administration Building holds all sociological and epidemiological research while the Laboratory Building holds all biological and chemical research.

Clad entirely in travertine, with skylights puncturing every surface, light is brought into all atria as the buildings work off each other surrounding a hexagonal shaped garden.  Scientists work together and converse, throughout the complex, regardless of their discipline.  This bespeaks of the successfulness of the architecture as an element that promotes creativity.

The interiors of the buildings are surrounded with beautiful honey colored travertine and lighted warmly, bringing the exterior materials inside.  This is further accomplished by incredible views of MarinCounty captured in every window.  The large walls of the auditorium are wrapped in beige and indigo chenille and the chairs are maple with geometric patterned chenille that recalls the forms of the buildings.  There are windows at every lab bench, an important aspect for scientists who work day and night.

This building was considered an extremely special design effort specifically because it would be the first center in the world to dedicate its research solely on the quality of life of the aged.  The design was immediately thought of as two entities that would work together on one campus leading to one Administration Building to hold all sociological research, and four individual lab buildings dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  The two types of research exist independently, but also build on each other.  This is represented through the architecture.

This project was completed in the year 2000 and expanded to the Master Plan.