UC Vontz Center for Molecular Studies

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Year: 2018

The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, entered service on the University’s East Medical Campus in 1999. The iconic free-form design was executed, in this instance, using three dimensional curved, prefabricated brick masonry walls and roofs in lieu of the typically polished metal claddings utilized to a greater extent on other Gehry projects of this period. As this structure was nearing twenty years of service, it began to require both periodic maintenance and wall, window, parapet and roofing upgrades to the unique building envelope. Recurrent and systemic water infiltration issues with projecting curtainwalls, sky-sloping masonry panels and a roofing system nearing the end of its service life were beginning to require attention.

The entire multi-phase project includes the major renovation of all the building enclosure systems while the building remained occupied.  Systems included roofing, copings, skylights, exterior window walls, unit masonry, and site wall and stair repairs. The roofing scope included complete replacement of the single-ply, paver-ballasted roof with a new high-performance roof system and included replacement of the extensive, oversize metal coping system.


The window wall replacement required temporary weather protection to allow the research labs to function during construction operations. All existing curtainwall systems were replaced. Repeated attempts to seal these original systems had yielded only temporary and ineffectual results. All glazing, as well as flashings and weather tight details, were redesigned and replaced. The masonry scope of work included miscellaneous tuck pointing throughout and the application of masonry water repellent. Additional minor masonry remediation was required to maintain continuity of the exterior air / water barrier. Sealants between adjacent materials were renewed where required.



555 Carr St.
Cincinnati, OH 45203

120 West Second St.
Suite 1800
Dayton, OH 45402

2360 Chauvin Dr.
Lexington, KY 40517

1220 West Sixth St.
Suite 300
Cleveland, OH 44113