Virginia Commonwealth University, Massey Cancer Center

Richmond, VA | 2006

This new research laboratory facility for the Massey Cancer Center is designed to provide flexible lab space and a stimulating environment for discovery.

This addition to an existing research building on VCU’s Medical College of Virginia campus mediates between the intimate scale of a historic neighborhood on the west, the academic medical center to the north, and Interstate 95 to the east. The entrance and lobby link the existing lab building and the new three-story block. The link was kept as shallow as possible to allow views from the street corridor through the lobby and beyond to a new Healing Garden with views across the valley.

As part of the facade, articulated columns at the inset portico mimic a classical motif of the historic neighborhood. The rest of the exterior is treated simply with brick and an exaggerated cornice that fit the historic context.

The lab block comprises 74 open labs on three sides and office clusters facing the garden, surrounding a support core of equipment rooms and mechanical services. Labs are designed with moveable casework and customizable support alcoves. The plan integrates with a 105-car garage buried into the hillside with direct lobby access.

The design fosters interaction and communication among researchers and staff with an open atrium stair that features built-in seating on landings. Adjacent break areas and conference rooms create a heart that unites existing and new buildings into one integrated facility.


  • Square Footage: 71,400 s.f.
  • Construction Cost: $33,000,000

Shepley Bulfinch Team

Dan Salive
Tom Frohlichstein
Jonathan Gyory
Leslie Sims
Loren McAllister
Mima Leivi
Edward Benner
Michelle Sheehan
Ernest Marsh
Malcolm Kent
Peter Bracciotti
Ruth Rogers
Peter Crowley
Michael Kalustov
Jonathan Betts
Claire Gilbert
Karen Gill
Candice Beck
Gail Kavanaugh
Ryan Miller
Michael Gailey

©2017 Shepley Bulfinch