Proof that science doesn't have to be dry, the new Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building is a startling serpentine network of exterior ramps, stairways and interconnecting volumes. Recently unveiled by the University of California, San Francisco, the Rafael Viñoly Architects-designed structure will be the headquarters of the Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.

 

The building's location on a steeply sloping hillside - in a city plagued by earthquakes - was a defining element in its construction. The architects' circuitous use of stairways and sloping walkways has deftly resolved the former, maximising all available space and ensuring a fluid and cohesive whole. Meanwhile, the entire complex is also supported by steel space trusses and concrete piers, which are specifically engineered to absorb earthquakes through seismic base isolation.

Each floor offers a roof garden, forging transitional spaces where forest and campus meet. Inside the centre, horizontal open-plan floors connect the 125 labs, and large windows ensure plentiful natural light, offering panoramic views of Mount Sutro's wooded slopes.