From The Field: Extraordinary Research Spaces

Highlights from projects that showcase creative programming for research facilities.

University of Washington Life Sciences Building

UW’s new Life Science Building provides a world class facility for the Department of Biology to expand its innovative research. Flexible, high-density labs are perfectly suited for collaborative, interdisciplinary research. The building features state-of-the-art undergraduate research and teaching labs, imaging facilities, offices, conference and collaboration spaces, a vivarium, growth chambers, and a 20,000 square foot greenhouse. The facility opened its doors to students in the Fall of 2018 and was recently awarded “Project of the Year” by Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce.

We leveraged our deep experience with both private sector and other university labs to help the university determine economic construction solutions to minimize vibration and maximize floor-to-floor heights (including the first use of flat plate post-tensioned slabs in a UW lab facility!). Strategically placed steel beams support a glass curtain wall that envelops the west façade, allowing natural light to flow throughout the building. Focal to the design, behind the glass curtain wall, hangs a five-story illuminated staircase suspended from the ceiling truss. Striking protrusions and cantilevers give the modern feature a unique prominence on campus (especially from the Burke Gilman Trail when it’s lit up at night!).

Innovative site designs include a cistern for rainwater collection, a vital resource for greenhouse irrigation. Extensive multi-disciplinary coordination accommodated above- and below-grade infrastructure that serves the 700-acre campus.

Project Team: Owner: UW / Architect: Perkins&Will / General Contractor: Skanska USA Building / Structural + Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen / Landscape Architect: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd. / Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Affiliated Engineers NW

Photographer: Kevin Scott

Washington State University Troy Hall

The adaptive reuse of this 1920s dairy building accommodates robust floor uses associated with chemistry laboratories and teaching suites on WSU’s campus. One of the first design-build adaptive reuse preservation projects delivered in Washington, the project took 30 percent less time to finish than it would have with a traditional delivery model.

All historic exterior masonry facades were preserved along with the original terracotta entryway. Temporary bracing of the nearly 100-year-old building allowed the team to fully transform the interior and support a 10,000 SF glass-encased addition. The result: a modern, rejuvenated facility that celebrates the building’s history and character.

Troy Hall received AIA’s 2018 Award of Merit and the 2017 Civic Design Award of Citation celebrating, “The best examples of what can be realized when architects and civic clients work together to achieve quality design. The projects represent the finest standards in innovation, sustainability, building performance and overall integration with the client and surrounding community.”

Project Team: Owner: WSU / Architect: Perkins&Will / General Contractor: Lydig Construction / Structural Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen / Civil Engineer: Taylor Engineering, Inc. / Landscape Architect: Swift Company / Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: PAE Consulting Engineer

Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider

Veteran Affairs Mental Health and Research Facility

Seattle’s 51-acre Veteran Affairs campus offers veterans the highest level of patient care, respite, dedicated research, and administrative support. With more than 600 active research projects, it is the fifth largest research program in the national Department of Veterans Affairs system. The team studied the Veteran Affairs standards (which are different than Seattle codes) and presented project designs in Washington DC, ultimately constructing a seven-story 203,000 SF outpatient facility dedicated to mental health services. The cutting-edge research and laboratory space is primarily dedicated to understanding traumatic brain injuries.

Due to the critical service the facility provides and high seismic risk, the design adheres to strict disaster relief standards and is capable of functioning in isolation for three full days. A unique challenge for our team, the entire utility infrastructure of the hospital was re-routed to more practical locations.

Project Team: Owner: US Department of Veteran Affairs / Architects: Stantec, The Design Partnership / General Contractor: Absher Construction Co., Swinerton Builders, Clark Construction Group / Structural Engineer: Gregory P. Luth & Associates, Inc. / Civil Engineer: Coughlin Porter Lundeen / Landscape Architects: Nakano Associates, The West Studio / Mechanical Engineer: Stantec

Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider