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New La Jolla Office Building “Tilted Up” Overnight

Employees in the East Campus Health Sciences Neighborhood did a double take when they arrived at work on February 17. Where the construction site of the new La Jolla Office Building (LJOB) had been essentially flat the day before, the three-story building seemingly had sprung up overnight. More accurately, the construction contractor C.W. Driver had “tilted up” the exterior walls—one step in an efficient construction strategy that will allow the CTRI to move into its new home less than a year after construction began. Designed by the architecture firm Gensler, LJOB will make clinical research and administrative operations much more efficient and integrated when it is completed in August of this year, by consolidating activities that are currently scattered on- and off-campus.

The tilting-up method begins with the laying of the foundation, followed by casting the concrete walls in a flat position on the ground. Each wall is temporarily held in place with buttress-like steel braces while a crane pivots (“tilts”) the wall up so that it stands erect. The walls and other components of the building are welded together as construction proceeds. In addition to having a short construction schedule, LJOB has earned a LEED Silver rating based on its green features, including natural ventilation, vertical and horizontal fins to shade exterior windows, and mechanical efficiency.

LJOB is situated just east of Interstate 5, southwest of Thornton Pavilion (part of Jacobs Medical Center), the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, and other East Campus facilities. In fact, Thornton and LJOB will be physically and programmatically connected via an extension of the Health Sciences Walk. The front entrance of LJOB will face the northeast and will have a semicircular driveway in which clinical trial participants can be dropped off and picked up.

The three floors of LJOB comprise 75,000 square feet. The CTRI will occupy the first floor. The Clinical Research Center will be one of the key components, including examination and consultation rooms, infusion rooms, and procedure rooms. Many other clinical research functions, including the Human Research Protections Program, Office of Clinical Trial Administration, nurses and clinical coordinators, biostatistics, and Informatics support will be housed in the facility, along with an auditorium for educational activities. The second floor will serve as offices for clinical research groups and the third floor will be occupied by Cardiovascular Center personnel.

In 2017, the CTRI clinical and administrative operations will move to a much larger CTRI building, which is currently in the design phase. But recently, seeing a crane hoist a three-story wall into position was pulse-quickening for some CTRI staff members. It’s one thing to write grants and draw organization charts on paper, but quite another to see the future rising before one’s eyes.

About UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute:

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) is part of a national Clinical and Translational Science Award consortium, led by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science. Established in 2010, ACTRI provides infrastructure and support for basic, translational and clinical research throughout the San Diego region to bring discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside, and facilitates training and education of the next generation of researchers. ACTRI carries out its activities in collaboration with institutional and corporate partners and currently has more than 1,500 members.