The City and County of San Francisco proposed the construction of a Statewide Multidisciplinary Molecular Biology/AIDS Research Center at San Francisco General Hospital to bring together scientists from various disciplines to accelerate the investigation and development of an AIDS vaccine and methods to eliminate existing AIDS virions. This research center is the first of its kind and constructed as two additional floors on top of the existing three stories of Building 3.

The new addition includes open laboratories, a vivarium, offices, and additional support spaces. The project uses a modular planning approach with open labs located adjacent to the offices, support, and equipment areas. The original programming and concept plans completed by another party were deemed insufficient by the users, and FCA was tasked to study possibilities of increasing the usable space on the existing site. The circulation space on the original plans was reduced to increase the net/gross floor ratio, and cantilevering the floor plate outside the existing building envelope helped to increase the new usable area from 36,000 GSF to 49,500 GSF. An additional 48,000 GSF was renovated in the existing facility.

FCA carefully planned construction phasing and temporary utilities to reduce disruption to on-going existing operations on lower levels, including the third floor vivarium and the second floor morgue. Significant cost savings were achieved in keeping the existing roof top equipment in place and converting the existing roof to an open mechanical room.  This eliminated the need to demolish the existing roof system, maintained locations of existing equipment, and reduced temporary protection of the lower floors during construction. The mechanical floor acts as a buffer zone to reduce construction noise and vibration, thus minimizing the adverse effects to the valuable research animals below.





San Francisco, California


Completed 1992


97,500 gross square feet


Interior Design
Construction Management

Project Features

Cantilevered Floor Plate
Open Laboratories