University of Michigan, Biomedical Science Research Building
Ann Arbor, MI
- ennead architects
- 100M - 1Bn
- 5-20 Stories
This state-of-the-art research laboratory creates a new identity for the Medical Center campus. The building’s form expresses the primary programmatic functions. Lab blocks are separated from a “ribbon” of offices by a sky-lit atrium, which penetrates the building’s core. The atrium links offices with laboratories, fostering a sense of community among researchers, and promotes interdisciplinary interaction in the form of the “productive collisions” that are essential to research and invention. The sinuous “ribbon” of offices, the defining aesthetic element of the composition, creates an organic foil to the rectilinear form of the laboratories. Sustainable strategies were implemented throughout the building, particularly in the design of the building envelope. The double-glass curtain wall is comprised of a single-glazed exterior wall separated from the insulated glazed office wall by a three-foot-wide interstitial space. The space is ventilated by means of continuous louvers and open metal gratings at each floor level. The active double façade of the south-facing office ribbon conserves energy and creates a comfortable interior environment with excellent daylight quality and shading control. The terracotta and stainless steel panel façades of the laboratory blocks provide a natural rain screen that has no long-term maintenance requirements, minimizes air infiltration, and because the building insulation is continuous, requires no thermal bridges at the slab edges.