SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA—A stem cell research building opened today at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is generating oohs and ahhs from scientists and architecture buffs alike. The $123 million Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building , named after its largest donors, is built into a 65˚ slope in this hilly city.
The design, by architect Raphael Viñoly, features four split-level floors with terraced roofs planted with native grasses. Labs with open floor plans, interspersed with offices and lounge areas, are meant to foster interaction and collaboration among its 300 researchers.
The San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic recently called it  "audacious and practical at once." The building "slides along Mount Sutro like an elongated silver snake, perched on stilts with an upreared head facing the ocean."
The new facility's director, UCSF stem cell biologist Arnold Kriegstein, calls it "spectacular."
In an interview in December as his lab was moving in, Kriegstein said the building already seemed to be having its intended effect. "People are already congregating in the lunchrooms and in the hallways and striking up collaborations," he said.