Clinical Center News
Spring 2018

Frasca, architect and designer of the north part of Building 10, dies

The Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center north entrance of Building 10 has become the iconic image of the Clinical Center
Harold Varmus, Robert Frasca, Mark Hatfield and John Gallin outside
Harold Varmus, Robert Frasca, Mark Hatfield and John Gallin at the groundbreaking of the hospital's new addition.
 

Robert Frasca, a founding design partner responsible for creating the north side of Building 10, known as the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center (CRC), died Jan. 3. Frasca, 84, worked for Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, the firm selected from an international design competition in 1996 to design the CRC. The 870,000-square-foot addition, which opened in 2005, has 200 inpatient beds and 93 day-hospital stations.

To Frasca, working at the Clinical Center was more than just a job.

"He loved scientists and [doctors] and felt they were doing God's work and he was only providing the cathedrals for it all to happen," Frasca's wife, Jeanne Giordano, said recently to John Gallin, NIH's associate director for clinical research and chief scientific officer of the Clinical Center.

Gallin, who was the Director of the hospital during renovation, added "[Frasca] quickly grasped our mission. Aside from [his] great design skills, he had a remarkable ability to listen and respond to our stakeholders. He grasped how patients and their families react to a serious illness. He understood the stress care providers and scientists face. With good humor, optimism, inclusiveness and sensitivity [he] became a friend of the NIH.

North entrance to the NIH Clinical Center
Construction of the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center.
 

In 1997, Frasca spoke before an audience of Clinical Center researchers and staff about the importance of their input when designing the new facilities.

"We really believe that a good science building can contribute to good science. In designing this building, it is a partnership. We literally learn from one another. The more emotional investment you have in the building, the better building it's going to be," Frasca said.

Frasca's portfolio includes Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore.; the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Research Center in New York; and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Yawkey Center for Cancer Care in Boston.

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