McGhee will join Rice to teach and direct a future graduate program in the design of research labs.
After 22 years with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Robert H. McGhee, HHMI's Architect and Senior Facilities Officer, has announced that he will leave the Institute on September 1, 2007, to join the faculty of the Rice University School of Architecture as Professor of Practice and director of a future graduate program in the design of research labs.
McGhee will continue to serve as an advisor to HHMI on the final build out of the newly opened Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va.
Over two decades, McGhee has led HHMI's participation in research laboratory construction and renovation projects that carry an estimated value of more than $1 billion. Through his HHMI work, he has also served as an advisor on the laboratory building projects of many of the academic institutions across the nation with which HHMI has research collaborations. He has also served as an advisor to many other research institutions that are not affiliated with the Institute.
For the past six years McGhee has focused most of his efforts on Janelia Farm, a $500 million scientific community where collaboration and flexibility are hallmarks of both design and research. McGhee played a major role in establishing the architectural program, the selection of Rafael Viñoly as the project architect, and in overseeing all aspects of design and construction.
“Bob McGhee set the standard for the development of highly functional, adaptable workspaces and, thanks to his vision, our scientists have the work environments they need to support highly creative research,” said Thomas R. Cech, HHMI's president. “As a result of Bob's contributions, the Institute itself has become recognized for innovation in laboratory design. His new role at Rice will help extend that influence to a wider audience.”
McGhee plans to teach, write, and conduct research on the design of science buildings and will be supported by HHMI for a portion of that work over the next several years. He will continue to work with Gerald M. Rubin, Janelia Farm's director, as that facility becomes fully occupied. McGhee will also continue to be an advisor to institutions about the planning of research facilities.