BUFFALO, N.Y. – The skyline of downtown Buffalo just obtained a new feature — the eight-story, 628,000-square-foot Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo (UB), for the State University Construction Fund (SUCF).
The new structure is the largest new building to have been erected in downtown Buffalo in recent decades and was constructed from sustainable materials and methods with the goal of obtaining LEED Gold certification.
Serving as construction manager, The LiRo Group (LiRo) partnered with Gilbane Building Company in the joint venture with architect HOK and general contractor LPCiminelli helping bring it to fruition. SUCF contracted with LiRo-Gilbane following the completion of the schematic design phase prior to its design development. All companies have offices in New York.
“This building fully integrates medical education into Buffalo’s growing academic health center, emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration and strengthening our relationships with our clinical partners,” said Michael Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the Jacobs School, in a statement. “A medical school that is just steps away from UBMD Physicians’ Group at Conventus, John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, Buffalo General Medical Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and all of our other partners will foster synergies that will expand and improve healthcare in Western New York.”
Funded through the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, the $375 million Jacobs School is part of a larger initiative to encourage state economic growth as well as bolster public university and college academic programs. To that end, UB received $35 million in 2011 for the new building, which was administered through the Empire State Development Corporation and SUCF. Throughout, LiRo managed pre-construction and served as project manager for the general construction and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing aspects of the project.
The building’s striking aesthetic is largely the result of its terra cotta tile façade, which underlies its rain-screen system. The tile is a visual echo of the area’s historic buildings and required the use of nearly 27,000 locally made tiles.
Inasmuch as the exteriors are designed to reflect the look of local history, the interiors are a nod to new modalities of learning. The new Jacobs School building is designed to spur interactions among students and the faculty via the use of glass-enclosed and otherwise open spaces. The effort is meant to encourage chance encounters, as conference rooms surround a large central atrium and lounge furniture is arrayed in an open manner that enables group discussions. Many spaces are designed with flexible use-case scenarios in mind, from modular research laboratories that can expand and contract as necessary to desks that readily configure into tables for conferences.
“LiRo is proud to have overseen the construction of this world-class, $375 million hub for life science, technological innovation and learning,” observed Luis M. Tormenta, PE, LiRo’s CEO and vice chairman, in a statement. “We have delivered to the University at Buffalo an ultramodern facility that will serve its students, faculty, researchers and the community for a long time to come.”