Genetics play a major role in Houston’s economic landscape — if the Texas Medical Center has its way, a twist on the structure of DNA will become part of the city’s physical landscape as well. A new research campus proposed by the organization would center around a 250,000-sq.-ft. park reminiscent of a double helix, pictured above. The TMC3 Innovation Campus is designed to take the place of an existing parking lot bisected by William C. Harvin Dr. between S. Braeswood and Old Spanish Trail, just south of Braes Bayou. The 30-acre facility would represent the TMC’s official expansion across the bayou, linking the existing campus to research institutions further south; the once-again-developing Baylor-slash-St.-Luke’s complex on Cambridge would also be right next door (pictured above with some already-in-the-works glassy expansions, and linked to the helix’s surrounding structures by a skybridge over Staffordshire).
Texas A&M, Baylor College of Medicine, M.D.Anderson and the University of Texas would anchor the 1.5-million-sq.-ft. collaborative research facility — if they agree to do so. The institutions have yet to formally sign off on participation (or partial funding) of the project, which is estimated to cost on the order of $1.5 billion; UT is currently pushing plans for its own campus of yet-ambiguous purpose nearby.
Designs for the campus are still largely conceptual. The helix would be open for use as public greenspace:
Criss-crossing strips of park, laced with walking and biking trails, would slope upward from ground level at both ends of the helix, reaching a height of 65 feet. Designs for the project include plenty of non-medical infrastructure: from residential and retail space to a movie theater and a performance venue, tucked into one of the DNA strand’s gaps:
Plans for the bayou-side campus also include 5,700 underground parking spaces.
- The Texas Medical Center has ambitious plans for a new Houston campus [Kinder Institute]
- Proposed medical research campus would encourage collaboration [Houston Chronicle]
- TMC outlines potential plans for new research campus (Video) [HBJ]