Elevating Imaging Research

Center for Radiochemistry Research

Oregon Health & Science University

Our challenge: build a home for a particle accelerator in an existing building, a healthy laboratory environment for researchers, while also activating an under-utilized plaza on campus.


9,600 sf


Portland, OR

Year Complete


2017 1st Place, Public Work — DJC Oregon TopProjects

Developing New Real‑Time Imaging Capabilities

To further their health care research, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) required a cyclotron to generate short-lived, gamma-emitting radio nuclides for research and imaging. With major support from the Knight Cardiovascular Institute, the university built the Center for Radiochemistry Research, a 9,600 sf facility designed to generate radioisotopes for research and clinical applications in the fields of cardiology, oncology, and neurology.

From the beginning the design team aimed to create a rich working environment aligned with functional requirements of radiochemistry research. The new facility houses a cyclotron, clean rooms, pharmacy, general chemistry laboratory, office space, and mechanical space.

Collaborating with a Diverse Leadership Group

Critical to the success of the project was a layout that supports the flow and function of the research. The team solicited input from the end user to generate a building plan that maximizes strategic adjacencies and aligns lab functions along a continuum parallel to the movement of material from the cyclotron to its eventual clinical or pre-clinical use.

To meet these challenges the team assumed a collaborative approach to design and delivery. From the onset, the end user was engaged in the building design process assisting with the lab planning and work process, equipment selection and location, and calculating shielding requirements. During construction, the end user remained integrally involved, as well. Weekly meetings with the owner, architect, consultants, end user, and contractor assured alignment of the architect’s design intent with the functional requirements of the user.

Activating an Under‑Utilized Plaza

Though the site presented numerous challenges, it also presented opportunities. Its location at the heart of the campus, within an existing courtyard, provided opportunity to enrich a public area. By narrowing the building footprint and pushing the facility to the North, the new building redefines the relationship between the courtyard and the café. Its presence softens the courtyard edge by providing a more appropriate scale than the 12-story research building that previously framed the space. A simple palette of glass and metal panel allow for a timeless composition that fits the surroundings and reflects the color and activity of the courtyard.