9th and Stewart, A New Sustainable and Flexible Lab
Edward Breen, AIA, MBT Architecture
The 9th & Stewart Life Sciences Building is an 11-story multipurpose
laboratory and technology building. The project includes 212,000
square feet of rentable lab/office space, plus secured parking for
200 cars and 4,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Corixa is
the lead tenant, with 143,000 square feet. The project is participating
in a pilot for the Core and Shell LEED program.
This development is unique to Seattle and throughout the Biotech
marketplace. We successfully created a generic Biotechnology Shell
& Core Building of institutional quality at a reasonable cost
allowing the ownership to lease the space at market rates for private
research and development companies. This building provides tenants
with many of the infrastructure qualities of a build-to-suit and
maintains ultimate flexibility for the ever changing needs of Biotechnology
and Biomedical companies.
The massing of the building is driven by maximizing the floor plates
allowed by floor area ratio standards rather than the height limit
of the DMC-240 Zone. This keeps redundancy of systems to a minimum.
The building is organized to reveal its specific function as a life
sciences building. Accordingly the Stewart Street elevation is composed
around a central spine that houses floor by floor mechanical equipment
for each tenant. This "systems" spine ascends through
the laboratory levels to the roof where it surounds cooling towers
and houses specialty exhaust systems in a perforated metal screen.
On either side of the spine, the facade is composed of window wall
and metal panel spandrels, also repeated on the north side of the
The notion of pursuing LEED Certification occurred to us
at about halfway through the Design Development phase. The combination
of the project site being an urban infill, Owner directed sustainable
amenities and our own green design approach had us almost to "Certified"
status when we checked the points matrix. I jokingly suggested that
we should probably just go for Silver and the Owner said, "Good
This building is a reaction to the trend of biotech firms locating
well outside the city in low-rise complexes surrounded by large
surface parking lots. The three year process of planning through
construction has taught lessons. Careful planning can bring forth
a flexible and economical lab in a highrise structure. It is never
too late to pursue sustainability in a building, but it is a heck
of a lot easier when a clear picture of what will be included emerges
at the beginning.
9th & Stewart Life Sciences Building is unique as a speculative,
urban, highrise R&D shell and Core building project. The ability
to add HVAC systems of varying sizes on a floor-by-floor basis allows
staggered tenant move-ins without interrupting existing users.
Its structure is a response to a need for speed of delivery balanced
against economic reality of steel price increases and a need for
high-capacity and low vibration floor.
The Mechanical and Electrical Systems were programmed to the extent
possible without a particular tenant in mind. Test layouts were
generated for 40/60,50/50, and 60/40 lab to office ratios. We test
fit multi tenant floors as well as single. We have shaft area in
place to accommodate a large amount of specialty exhaust per floor
should the need arise.
We employed the use of offset beams in 31.5' bays for a 10.5' lab
module. This allows columns to center on benches while leaving no
structural obstructions in the way of coring below the benches.
The project has been submitted to the LEED for CS pilot program.
I have satisfaction knowing the amount of water being saved with
the use of dual flush toilets and waterless urinals. I am happy
that the elevator we used is equipped with a regenerative drive.
My major disappointment is the 260' of five foot diameter stormwater
detention pipe that the local code will not allow to be used in
any capacity for landscape irrigation. There will be means to harvest
water on my next project!
Through all of this we employed numerous of the Labs21 Approach
elements. The owner has purchased a renewable 2-year green power
certificate for the project as an energy and environment goal. Low
VOC finishes and the low and no-flow toilet fixtures are a whole
building approach. Some of our equipment, like the Dolphin low-drift
cooling tower was higher initial investment but will begin to pay
off almost immediately. Most (82%) of these early purchases will
pay for themselves within 5 years. The remaining 18% is projected
to 12 +/- years. This particular section of Seattle is forecast
for an energy crisis when it approaches being built out. Several
options are being studied on a neighborhood level with Touchstone
being an active partner in the discussions. Our LEED submittal
package included 34 potential credit points.
Edward Breen is an architect and member of the AIA. He has
been with MBT Architecture, working in their Seattle office since
late in 1998. Projects he has managed include the Rosen Building,
an off-campus laboratory for the University of Washington and developed
by Schnitzer Northwest. This project converted a former timber warehouse
into a sophisticated research facility and was a R&D Lab of
the Year winner. The 9th and Stewart Life Sciences Building has
garnered Puget Sound NAIOP Tech Building of the year honors. Before
MBT, he was a project manager for the Art Institute of Chicago.
While here he managed a diverse range of projects including the
restoration of the Clarence Buckingham Fountain on Chicago's waterfront.
This project received a National AIA award for Restoration of the
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