Biomedical Science Research Building, University of Michigan
Located at the northern edge of the University of Michigan’s central campus, the Biomedical Science Research Building acts as a new front door to the university’s medical school. Its central atrium forges a pedestrian connection between the two campuses and provides an informal space in which researchers and students can socialize. The atrium also marks a transition in the building’s massing between an L-shaped rectilinear wing that contains 250 biomolecular research labs, and an organic, free-form wing that contains researchers’ offices.
The atrium features a café, where casual interactions can easily take place. It also accommodates major conferences and seminars, banquet tables for fundraising events, temporary seating for ceremonial events, and flexible display for trade shows or other exhibits. Four bridges span the atrium, connecting the labs to the office wing at each level. Liberal glazing allow views throughout the space and into the laboratories and offices.
Terracotta and stainless-steel panels clad the laboratory wing, while a rainscreen curtainwall improves insulation and diminishes air filtration. The architect organized the laboratories into groups of eight or 12; these groups cluster around the linear equipment room, which acts as the primary circulation path to the elevator cores. A glass-clad tower on the northwest corner houses conference rooms, offices, and a fire stair.