Stanford University has long been recognised as a centre for clinical excellence. The Center for Clinical Science Research (CCSR) provides the School of Medicine with state-of-the-art modular laboratory and office space for its programme of research into cancer and other diseases. Its design responds to emerging trends for interdisciplinary biomedical research, encouraging intercommunication and providing flexible, light-filled workspaces in which research teams can expand and contract with ease.

The brief called for close proximity between laboratories, core support areas and offices. Two symmetrical wings frame a shaded courtyard, which provides a comfortable environment for social interaction and has become both the social heart of the building and a popular route through the campus. Offices overlook the courtyard and a stand of bamboo provides occupants with a degree of privacy. Environmental systems take advantage of Palo Alto's benign climate. Offices are naturally ventilated for most of the year, with mechanical assistance only on extremely hot days; and the laboratory and office spaces are predominantly naturally lit. Seismic performance was a key concern: the campus lies close to the San Andreas Fault and the laboratories contain highly sensitive equipment. In response, the building employs a concrete shear-wall structural system and bridges spanning the courtyard rely on friction pendulum bearings to allow for seismic movement between the wings.

Over the years Stanford University has pioneered new approaches to clinical and scientific research. The CCSR represents the first wave of change at Stanford, which was consolidated by the Clark Center. Together, these two buildings have had a significant impact on the architecture of research facilities around the world. Not only have they set new international technical standards, they represent an exciting new research environment in which interaction between disciplines and individuals is encouraged as an essential part of working life.

Sketches + Drawings



Just as the project challenged the accepted perception of Stanford’s architectural vocabulary

it does an excellent job of supporting the still-evolving masterplan for the medical corner. In doing so, the project continues to invite interaction with a larger university community.”Lisa Findley, world Architecture, November/December 2001

The medical building’s design is an exquisite balance. Tying itself to the rest of the campus with several broad strokes

it also creates its own inward-looking world. [It] has captured the California way of work: you can work hard, but it’s alright to do it in a garden in the sunshine.”Alan Hess, San Jose Mercury News, 7 January 2001

Facts + Figures

  • Appointment: 1995
  • Completion: 2000
  • Area: 21,588m²
  • Capacity: 3189
  • Client: Stanford University
  • Collaborating Architect: Fong & Chan Architects
  • Structural Engineer: Arup, San Francisco
  • Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon & Everest, Adamson Associates
  • M+E Engineer: Arup, San Francisco
  • Landscape Architect: Peter Walker & Partners
  • Lighting Engineer: Claude Engle Associates
  • Additional Consultants: Research Facilities Design, Brian Kangas Foulk, Walsh-Norris & Associates