STRF’s unique design

Rendition of the South Texas Research Facility

Second floor layout of the South Texas Research Facility

Second floor of the South Texas Research Facility

STRF corridor STRF faculty Office STRF Open Lab rendition STRF Conference Room
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Rafael Viñoly Architects PC won the project commission to design the South Texas Research Facility (STRF) by proposing a design that featured a long horizontal building in contrast to the traditional vertically organized structures. This unique design reaches out to numerous medical facilities nearby and brings a sense of coherence to the UT Health Science Center campus and the South Texas Medical Center.


The STRF is a more than 1,000-foot-long “bar building” that bends with Floyd Curl Drive. Its horizontal arrangement creates one large floor for the continuous arrangement of six different medical research programs housed within. The design encourages informal encounters among researchers that spark new ideas and directions for investigations, fostering a sense of community and interactivity that would be more difficult to achieve in a high-rise structure.


The laboratory floor is lifted one story above the ground by a grid of cast-in-place concrete columns. Passing over the two main campus driveways, the building is both a boundary and a gateway: it marks the campus perimeter and defines a street wall along the road, but it is also permeable and functions as the main entrance to the Greehey Academic and Research Campus.


Four small lobbies and elevators at ground level provide access to the second-floor laboratory level, where clusters of faculty offices alternate in the building plan with five lab clusters. A corridor passes through the center of the building to connect them all. Support spaces on either side of the corridor and open-plan labs aligned along the building perimeter take advantage of natural lighting. The third floor features additional faculty and staff offices and conference rooms.


The labs are outfitted for maximum flexibility with modular casework custom-designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects. Featuring adjustable-height work surfaces and vertical poles that connect to gas and other utilities in the ceiling, the lab casework enables quick and easy reconfiguration as research needs change.


What’s in the STRF?

About the Architects

The architect for the UT Health Science Center's South Texas Reseach Facility is Rafael Viñoly -


To learn more about naming opportunities in the STRF, please contact our Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Deborah Morrill, at or by phone at  (210) 567-6395.