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News Releases

May 11, 2004

Lord, Aeck & Sargent Completes $27.3 Million Medical College of Georgia Interdisciplinary Research Building Expansion Project

Laboratory Design Fosters Collaborative Research, Features Flexibility and Captures Natural Light

AUGUSTA, Ga., May 11, 2004 – Construction was completed here recently on the Medical College of Georgia’s Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB) Phase II, a 94,000-square-foot expansion project. Lord, Aeck & Sargent, an Atlanta-based architectural firm, was the full- service architect for the $27.3 million project.

The five-story (including mechanical penthouse) building provides research laboratory and office space for the MCG Department of Physiology; Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine; and the Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development. In addition, the first floor of the building houses a vivarium for the MCG Office of Laboratory Animal Services.

"The Interdisciplinary Research Building Phase II represents an important expansion in the Medical College of Georgia's research space, particularly since it houses a life sciences incubator designed to grow biotech businesses that result from our scientific work,” said Dr. Daniel W. Rahn, MCG president. “Lord, Aeck & Sargent worked with us to design an impressive facility, one that fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary research. They worked very positively with our researchers and came up with designs that exceeded expectations for an open lab for our genomic medicine program and a more traditional design for the physiology research program. We're extremely pleased with the facility - and pleased with the responsiveness of our colleagues at Lord, Aeck & Sargent."

Howard Wertheimer, Lord, Aeck & Sargent principal in charge of the IRB expansion project, emphasized the science laboratory facility’s importance from an architectural design perspective. “As an expansion project that replaced a parking lot, this building represented a real design challenge. We were challenged by space constraints, which determined the building’s shape, and by the MCG mandate that research in the existing Interdisciplinary Research Building not be disturbed.

“Despite these challenges, MCG now has a building that provides state-of-the-art, flexible research laboratory and office space with lots of energy-efficient sustainable design features such as natural lighting, a re-circulated heating system and motion sensors on office lights,” Wertheimer said.

The second floor is occupied primarily by Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, including a life sciences incubator whose goal is to transform scientific inventions into protected intellectual property, or commercial products and services that will improve health care. It houses five laboratory suites, each with its own lab support room, as well as office space, and serves as a resource for MCG’s inventive faculty, staff and students to take their ideas from the research grant to the early commercialized product stage.

The laboratories on the second and third floors, as well as two large open labs on the fourth floor, are all designed to be as flexible as possible and capture plenty of natural light. All incorporate moveable, height-adjustable casework and island benches, so the labs can be configured with minimal effort.

“We’re particularly excited about the laboratory space,” Wertheimer noted. “We know that the different user groups will enjoy working in these labs because early on in the process, we created a full-scale lab mockup for researchers to test during a month-long period, and we incorporated changes that will ensure ease of use.”

“The Interdisciplinary Research Building addition is architecturally distinct and beautifully designed,” said Dr. Matthew J. Kluger, MCG vice president for research and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “This new building will greatly expand our research programs and will help us attract and retain quality faculty.”

The Project Team

In addition to Lord, Aeck & Sargent, the MCG Interdiscipinary Research Building Phase II project team included:

  • 2KM Architects (Augusta, Ga.), consulting architect;
  • Turner Construction (Atlanta), construction manager;
  • Nottingham, Brook and Pennington (Macon Ga.), MEPFP engineers;
  • Jordan, Jones & Goulding (Athens, Ga.) civil engineers;
  • KSI Structural Engineers (Atlanta), structural engineers;
  • Davis Design Group (Augusta, Ga.), landscape architect; and
  • Costing Services Group (Atlanta), cost consultant

About Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Founded in 1942, Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural markets. The firm’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is headquartered in Atlanta and has offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit the firm at