The new Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine provides a home for innovative, collaborative, and interdisciplinary clinical and translational research. It is the first completed piece in the School of Medicine’s plan to transform some of its medical center properties from a parcel-zoned, suburban land use to a more integrated, pedestrian-focused campus.
The practitioners in this building were previously housed in multiple locations on the Stanford Medical Center campus, which hindered interdisciplinary collaboration. Bringing them together under one roof will help clinicians and researchers discover useful therapies for patients.
The 30,690-square-foot Freidenrich Center provides space for 250 staff members involved in clinical research and houses three organizations: the Clinical Trials Research Units, which supports many of Stanford’s studies involving human subjects; the Cancer Clinical Trials Office; and Spectrum, the Center for Clinical and Translational Education and Research, a Stanford independent research center.
With a primary focus on cancer treatment, the new facility will bring these groups together in space that accommodates adult and pediatric outpatient clinics; administrative offices; and new meeting and collaboration space.
The university requested that the new buildings relate to the School of Medicine’s main campus identity. The design interprets Stanford’s campus vernacular in a contemporary way with a series of connected outdoor spaces; materials such as stone, terra cotta, glass, and wood; and deep arcades and roof eaves.
The generous landscape sets this building apart from its immediate neighbors. The main entry walk from the street is framed by a terra cotta panel wall and stone-covered arcade, which leads to a quiet entry courtyard. A second-floor terrace overlooks this courtyard, and outdoor stairs connect all levels of the building from this central space. Clinic spaces on the ground floor enjoy views into screened and planted view courtyards. These common outdoor areas serve as useful spaces and quiet retreats for building users while reinforcing Stanford’s tradition of elegant landscape design. The two upper floors, for research and offices, are internally organized for clinical trial teams.
Because these research teams will form for specific trials and then disband, the interiors needed to be highly flexible. Private offices are placed at either side to create an open floor plan that runs north/south through the building. This large, contiguous area avoids isolated islands of space that can be hard to reconfigure as teams change. Each floor has two dedicated conference areas, in addition to a large conference area on the ground floor.
WRNS Studio is currently designing the second building on the Translational Research Campus, an academic medical office building, which will be adjacent to the Freidenrich Center to the east. Together, these two buildings will form a new open green space between them, giving preference to pedestrians and bicycles and forming a more campus-like presence along Welch Road.
+ Project facts
Project: Freidenrich Center for Translational Research
Architect: WRNS Studio
Location: Palo Alto, California, USA
Client: Stanford University School of Medicine
Date of occupancy: 7/2012
Gross square footage: 30,690 sf
Site area: 1.5 acres
Construction cost: $14.5 m
Contractor: Devcon Construction Inc.
• Universal Structural Engineers (Structural)
• Interface Engineering (MEP)
• Richard Hubble (Specifications)
• Steven Nakashima (Civil)
• Interstice Architects (Landscape)
terra cotta wall panel (Shildan)
precast concrete (Walters and Wolf)
Software used: Revit, Autocad
Photographer credit: Bruce Damonte + Tim Maloney