Johns Hopkins Health System unveils plans for $400 million, 12-story research tower

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A rendering of the proposed research tower. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Johns Hopkins Health System plans to build a $400 million, 12-story research tower at its East Baltimore medical campus by the spring of 2023.

Hopkins representatives unveiled preliminary plans today that showed part of the research tower will be a new structure rising in place of the Brady Building, a seven-story structure that dated from 1915 and was demolished this year to make way for the new project.

Additional research space will be created through the renovation of the CMSC building, a 1964 structure that was built as the Children’s Medical and Surgical Center but has most recently housed labs and offices.

The combined project will have 440,770 square feet of new and renovated space, including 200,000 square feet of research labs and related areas. That makes it the largest construction project on Hopkins’ medical campus since the Sheikh Zayed Tower and the Charlotte Bloomberg Children’s Center opened in 2012.

It’s also the first major construction project on the Monument Street side of the hospital since Hopkins moved many of its employees into the Zayed and Bloomberg towers seven years ago, and a sign that Hopkins plans to continue expanding along the Monument Street corridor.

“This is an exciting but challenging project,” said Sally MacConnell, senior vice president in charge of facilities for the health system, in a presentation to Baltimore’s Urban Design and Architecture Advisory Panel.

MacConnell said the project will help Hopkins achieve two major goals: first, to create 200,000 square feet of lab space that will allow Hopkins to stay “at the cutting edge of research,” and second, to provide a new entrance on the north side of the hospital.

It “allows us to have a major front door on Monument Street, which we have never had,” she said. “We’re very excited that this project allows us to do that.”

In a graphic shown to the panel, the design team said that “the idea of weaving and interlocking research, education and clinical care has informed the idea and the diagram of the building–both the interior and the exterior.” The building will not include any beds for in-patient care.

Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore is the architect for the project, called “the CMSC and North Tower addition.” Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is the construction manager. Jacobs Consultancy is the lab designer, and Floura Teeter is the landscape architect.

MacConnell said Ayers Saint Gross has completed a master plan that calls for two main research towers connected to Hopkins’ “Main Loop” circulation system.

She said Hopkins debated whether to tear down the CMSC building along with the Brady building but decided to renovate it instead, because the CMSC building is partially occupied and razing it would require relocating people.

MacConnell told the panel that one wall of the CMSC building is failing and must be replaced as part of the project. She said the CMSC building, now clad in brick, would be reskinned to match the exterior of the new structure rising on the footprint of the Brady Building. Proposed materials include metal panels, terra cotta and glass.

Construction will be paid for through a combination of funds in hand and public and private donations. MacConnell said Hopkins is currently raising funds for the work but already has secured a significant portion.

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