Vanderbilt University
Medical Research Building IV
Nashville, TN


Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s expansion needs conflicted with the limits of their already densely developed campus. Davis Brody Bond’s Master Plan proposed creative solutions for growth by phasing construction and adding new floors to existing buildings.

Upon completion of the Master Plan, Davis Brody Bond was retained to design Medical Research Building IV. We met the requirement for accelerated delivery with a two phase approach. Phase I added three research floors on top of an existing building, giving the University 90,000 sf of new space in fourteen months. During this time, the superstructure for a much larger Phase 2 was erected over an auditorium that had to remain open during construction. This solution provides 400,000 sf of state-of-the-art biomedical research laboratories with virtually no expansion of the Medical Center’s footprint. The vertical stacking also creates optimal adjacencies for interdisciplinary research, systems infrastructure, and circulation.

Davis Brody Bond designed a highly flexible environment for innovative research. Labs are arranged in 22’ modules with alcoves for specialty uses such as fume hoods and tissue culture rooms. Ceiling-mounted service connections and mobile storage units allow easy reconfiguration of lab benches. The project is the first US application of Venturi Wedge induction, a highly efficient system to maintain the precise temperatures required in laboratories. This measure saved approximately $2.4M in Phase 1 construction costs alone. Double-height lounges and seminar rooms provide further opportunities for collaboration. The University has commended MRB IV as “our most efficient and productive building.”