Kennedy Krieger Institute’s F.M. Kirby Research Center was expanded to include a 7 Tesla Functional MRI suite to provide cutting edge research capabilities for their continued development of brain mapping. The design of the suite was based primarily on the location of support spaces around the scan room while creating a safe and convenient flow for the facility. Select locations incorporated large radius curves to echo the considerations and subtle identification of areas with higher strength magnetic fields. The strength of this magnet requires a 400-ton steel enclosure box to be built around the 35-ton magnet and scan room. Due to the sensitivity of the equipment and the proximity to the nearby subway station, an ‘airbag’ vibration isolation system was required to provide the highest level of isolation.
The location for this magnet required it to be placed in the basement level of the new clinical research center which is 10 feet below the lowest grade level around the building. This posed challenges to the delivery of the heavy equipment and materials. Hord Coplan Macht provided studies to decide which of KKI’s buildings could accommodate the construction. The study determined that costs and time could be saved by locating it in the basement of a new building to be built directly across the street. The basement level was lowered to provide a 20-foot floor to deck height for magnetic field safety on the first floor. An access panel was designed into the exterior wall to allow for delivery of the magnet into the building and down ten feet to the basement floor level. HCM designed a 12-foot deep access put below the magnet to align the finish floor of the scan room with the basement floor level. This space accommodates a concrete “tub” to permit construction of the magnetic steel shielding and for the installation and maintenance of the vibration isolation system.