Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, MA

Syska Hennessy Group has provided consulting engineering services for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for the past 25 years.

RICHARD A. AND SUSAN F. SMITH RESEARCH LABORATORIES In recent years the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has gone through an extraordinary period of expansion in cancer research, resulting in a lack of space to house their increasing needs. As a result Dana-Farber took the initiative to have a new 400,000 sq. ft. building constructed to accommodate this growth. Syska Hennessy Group was brought in, as part of the project team, to assess the utility requirements of the new facility.

Dana-Farber's power, chilled water and steam were provided by a central utility plant controlled and operated by nearby Harvard Medical School. During our assessment of the plant we discovered it was running at near peak capacity, making it impossible to provide utilities to the new tower. Working jointly with Dana-Farber, we presented a plan to the central facility proposing a new "satellite" plant to be built at the bottom of a seven-level underground parking garage located beneath the new tower and would effectively supply 4500 tons of new power, of which Dana-Farber only required 2000 tons. In order to make the proposal attractive, we explained to the central facility that they could sell the additional 2500 tons to the community. The idea generated interest and they approved the plan. Because the central facility was gaining a monetary benefit from this plan, Dana-Farber was able to secure reduced energy rates and thus lower their life cycle costs.

A key element of the building's design was the need for modularity. Dana-Farber is regularly introducing new programs in addition to leasing facilities to scientists who have received research grants but lack the resources to carry out their projects. The Syska Hennessy Group project team developed a modular system that breaks down large spaces into one, two or three bay laboratories with minimal change. With some minor adjustments a new research space can be created without major electrical modifications or rebalancing of the air systems. Based on a previous installation in Dana-Farber's Mayer Building, this enhanced design incorporated improved lighting systems, better controls and mechanical systems.

In addition to modularity concerns, some programs required us to develop strict environmental systems. For example the animal containment area, occupying two floors of the building, required the installation of a unique desiccant dehumidification system and containment systems that utilize air pressurization and interlocks to meet the requirements of Bio Safety Level 3 standards.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Essential to the crystallography lab was the requirement to strictly maintain a relative humidity of 26% in order to allow effective experimentation. Syska Hennessy Group collaborated with the architect to develop a system that would allow this humidity level to be effectively maintained.

This new research facility has successfully provided Dana Farber with the room they needed to grow and the flexibility to dictate how that growth will occur. Through our past experience with Dana- Farber and a solid understanding of their needs, we were able to provide state-of-the-art design solutions for this project that have set new standards for the engineering community.

DANA BUILDING Syska Hennessy Group has been involved in the renovation of over 60,000 sq. ft. of this existing biomedical facility which included the following laboratory areas: blood bank; adult & pediatric clinic; infusion space; respiratory therapy clinic; hypothermia; and simulator replacement. Medical areas include histology, hematology, cryogenic, microbiology, virology, and gene therapy. Some of these labs hold a BL-2/BL-3 classification. We have also upgraded the potable and non-potable water system, laboratory waste neutralization system, medical compressed air and vacuum systems. Also involved in the renovation of the dining facility.

LEWIS B. MAYER BUILDING Design of a 124,000 sq. ft., 10-level biomedical research facility with advanced cancer research laboratories, animal facilities, and clean rooms. All engineering systems were designed to allow for future flexibility.

JIMMY FUND BUILDING Renovation to convert 100,000 sq. ft. of an existing research laboratory to an advanced cancer research facility. One floor was designed to contain 5,600 sq. ft. of level BL-3 bio-hazardous cancer research laboratories. We were also responsible for the upgrade of electric service.

REDSTONE BUILDING Renovation of a 20,000 sq. ft. stand alone animal holding facility. Syska Hennessy Group was responsible for the design of replacement HVAC systems. The new systems included high efficiency HEPA filters, humidification control, new electric service and BL-3 area.


400,000 sf