4340 Duncan Receives High Honors in 2022 International Lab of the Year Awards


HOK’s adaptive reuse design repurposed a long-vacant brick warehouse building in St. Louis’ Cortex Innovation Community into a multitenant biotech lab and office space.

The SEFA Lab of the Year Awards recognize teams for creating outstanding laboratory buildings. Recipients are lab projects that excelled in all aspects of project delivery, including planning, design and execution. 4340 Duncan earned “High Honors” in the 2022 competition.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the original 1930 Crescent Building (now 4340 Duncan) was formerly a first-of-its-kind rotogravure printing plant for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

HOK’s design for the adaptive reuse project transformed the building into a state-of-the-art office, lab and modular spaces for biotech companies. Large, open floor plates help enterprises in all stages of development, from startups to large-scale organizations, in need of affordable, functional space to expand and thrive.

A central zone preserves the open space where the rotogravure printers formerly stood. The monumental stairs emphasize the original three-story opening that once housed the printer. The two-story lab highlights the area where the production took place, maintaining the sense that “here is where the innovative work is happening.”

4340 Duncan also provides tenants with general support space, including a central glass wash/autoclave area and freezer farm. A roof deck on the fourth floor offers sweeping views. The anchor tenant is BioSTL, including its BioGenerator Labs, along with Confluence Discovery Technologies, Arch Oncology, Wugen and C2N Diagnostics. One hundred percent of the space is leased. BOBB, LLC, an affiliate of Washington University in St. Louis, led the development of the project and is the building’s owner.

4340 Duncan is making important contributions to the Cortex Innovation Community by sparking collaboration and innovation. Cortex, located just four miles west of downtown St. Louis’s urban core, now anchors a growing regional system of more than 425 companies and 6,000 employees spread throughout 2 million square feet of space.

Congratulations to the entire 4340 Duncan project team: Project Owner: BOBB, LLC/Washington University in St. Louis; Architecture, Lab Planning and Design, Interior Design, Lighting Design: HOK; Architecture, Interior Design: KAI Enterprises; Historic Preservation: Karen Bode Baxter; MEP and Fire Protection Engineering: Ross & Baruzzini; Plumbing and Lab Gas Engineering: Custom Engineering; Lighting Design: Reed Burkett Lighting Design; Structural Engineering: KPFF Consulting Engineers, Inc.; Civil and Structural Engineering: David Mason + Associates; Landscape Architecture: DG2 Design Landscape; Construction Manager and General Contractor: Tarlton; Graphic Designer: Kuhlmann Leavitt, Inc.; Acoustical and Vibration Consulting: AcoustiControl LLC; and Laboratory Casework and Fume Hoods: Air Master Systems.

With offices around the globe, HOK designs buildings and spaces that respond to the needs of people and the environment. HOK designers are rooted in technical excellence, driven by imagination and focused on a solitary goal: to deliver solutions that inspire clients and communities.

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