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A Building For The Future

The Duncan NRI's 344,000 square foot building is situated in the heart of the world's largest medical center, the Texas Medical Center in Houston. This central location offers ready access to immense intellectual resources and collaborative opportunities. Construction of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute was considered so vital that the Texas Medical Center leased this last remaining prime on-site land parcel to Texas Children's Hospital for 199 years at $1 per year.

About the Building

Award-winning architectural firm Perkins+Will was challenged to create a building that would do more than simply house state-of-the-art laboratories. The Duncan NRI building embodies the principles of transparency, openness, and collegiality, as well as environmentally-friendly design which has earned gold LEED certification. Every aspect of the building design was conceived to promote interaction and the open exchange of ideas.

The iconic "collaborative tower" — a glass-encased helical tower with panoramic views — serves as an area where scientists can meet and collaborate. The floor plan, entrances, and bridge design foster opportunities for impromptu discussions and idea sharing as scientists come and go throughout the day.

Core lab areas are open, light, and airy, with a spacious layout to allow for customization. Offices are grouped conveniently close to the labs to facilitate access and collaboration.

LEED Certification

The building's gold LEED certification ensures a sustainable, environmentally responsible footprint. LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design," and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Development of the Building


Groundbreaking for the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children's Hospital took place in late 2007.

Tony and Cynthia Petrello, Dan and Jan Duncan, Mark A. Wallace, Dr. Ralph D. Feigin, and Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi at the 2007 groundbreaking ceremony. 

 Grand Opening

The building opened in December 2010.

Mark A. Wallace, Jan Duncan, Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi and Tony and Cynthia Petrello at the 2010 groundbreaking ceremony.

About the Architects

A global leader in healthcare architecture and design, Perkins+Will is ranked among the top design firms in this category. Principal architect Ray Beets described his concept for the Duncan NRI Building: "the driving force behind the design was discovery."