As human life expectancy increases, so does the need to understand the aging process to ensure health into old age. It is with this motivation the Barshop Institute was established, bringing together the world’s leading scientists in aging and longevity research. The project required not only a high degree of technical rigor to create a cutting-edge research environment but also spaces that would support collaboration and exchange between researchers.
Because research for aging and longevity involves the study of numerous animal populations, the project had to meet the needs not only of its human inhabitants but its animal inhabitants. Some of the Barshop Institute’s most notable populations include the world’s largest colony of transgenic mice, the nation’s largest colony of naked mole-rats, and a community of marmosets—the only one of its kind in the world. These animals are highly valuable due to the significant research invested in them, so it was critical to create a sterile environment to support their health into maturity and across generations.
Guided By A Mission
When Overland first met to discuss the program and budget with the research scientists who would be using the building, they found a mismatch between the preplanned program and the real needs of the clients. The proposed program didn’t foster the type of dynamic, collaborative research that had been articulated in the institute’s mission. But after altering the program to match the research goals and facilities needed, the budget was insufficient. As a result, Overland Partners worked closely with the University of Texas System to deliver a building that fulfilled the mission of the institution within an appropriate budget.
Without Overland’s contribution as the architects, it probably wouldn’t be the extraordinary facility that we are so proud of today. Your design is not just functional – it’s inspiring!
The spirit of collaboration and innovation needed to come through in spite of the rigorous technical requirements of housing research animals, such as complex air flow, emergency, and security systems. But the spaces also needed to be flexible enough to accommodate changing research projects over time. The areas of the buildings primarily inhabited by humans pinwheel around a central gathering space. This gravitational center pulls students, teachers, researchers, and scientists into a collaborative space, where innovation can proliferate. Staying true to the mission of the institution by creating a place for dynamic intellectual exchange has proven highly successful. The Barshop Institute is now internationally recognized as one of the leading research facilities devoted to the studies of aging and age-related diseases.
- University of Texas System Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Accomplishment of Historically Underutilized Business Participation 2007