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The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University - The Lab of the Year Features Ecological Laboratory Design

Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED® AP, Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Barbara Hendricks, RA, LEED AP, Gould Evans Associates, L.C.
Michael L. Weiss, WorkingBuildings, LLC

The Biodesign Institute is focused on preventing and curing disease, overcoming the pain and limitations of injury, renewing and sustaining our environment, and securing a safer world. To accelerate the pace of discovery, the Institute merges formerly distinct fields of research. These include biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, agriculture, environmental science, electronics, materials science, engineering and computing.

The Institute was designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent and Gould Evans around five basic principles:

Fitness for Use: The Institute is designed to meet foreseeable demands for power, data service, water, temperature control, etc. for the next 20 years. As specific demands evolve, the Institute is designed to accommodate the most stringent requirements, including the need for EMI and Vibration control.

Flexibility: Flexibility is built into every aspect of the design, ensuring the Institute's ability to adapt easily and quickly to changes in technology and to accommodate the infrastructure needed to support these changes.

Communication & Collaboration: The Biodesign Institute requires specialists from different disciplines to work together and collaborate in pursuit of specific outcomes. The design of the Institute facilitates this by linking people both vertically and horizontally through an atrium and the use of transparent materials.

Scientific Hub: The Biodesign Institute is intended to serve as a Scientific Hub (both intellectual and physical). The layout of the building and master plan of the site creates a true core for the pursuit of scientific activity both within the buildings themselves and within the community.

Sustainability: The facility is a world-class demonstration of ecological laboratory design. The Institute features a broad range of green design features ranging in scale from the site and urban planning to interior finishes.

This presentation will provide an in-depth look at the challenges, solutions, and lessons learned in designing, constructing, and commissioning this year's R&D Magazine Lab of the Year.

Labs21 Connection:

The Biodesign Institute was envisioned not only as a state of the art research facility, but also as a world-class demonstration of ecological laboratory design. The Institute features a broad range of green design features ranging in scale from site and urban planning to interior finishes. Consistent with the Institute's research mission, quantitative research and analysis (including thermal modeling, daylight modeling, Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis and DOE 2 energy simulation) was conducted to optimize building performance. The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED Rating System was utilized as a framework for evaluating and benchmarking green design strategies and performance targets. Building B is LEED Registered and targeting silver level certification.


Jim Nicolow, AIA, LEED AP, leads the sustainability initiative at Lord, Aeck & Sargent, an architectural firm with offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His role is to facilitate the incorporation of sustainable design strategies and features into the firm's design projects and to spearhead efforts to integrate the use of quantitative analysis to inform the firm's sustainable design work. Lord, Aeck & Sargent is a Labs21 Supporter and Jim Nicolow participated in the development of EPC Version 2.

Barbara Hendricks is an architect with Gould Evans' Phoenix office. She has over twenty years of architectural experience. Most recently, she has been Project Manager for the first 2 buildings of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. She has studied sustainable design at Arizona State University, earning a Master of Science in Building Design in 1999, concentrating in energy and climatic design. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas, Austin.

Michael Weiss has been the driving force behind WorkingBuildings since its inception. Under his direction the firm has expanded its original mechanical commissioning capabilities, becoming one of the few firms that specializes in total building commissioning for complex biological, chemical, and nuclear facilities. After four years of service, Michael recently stepped down as president of the Building Commissioning Association, recognized internationally as the voice of the commissioning industry. Michael serves on the National Institute for Building Sciences Commissioning Task Force, as well as the U.S. General Services Administration Whole Building Design Guide commissioning committee. Michael is one of the leading laboratory commissioning authorities in the country. He teaches classes and frequently speaks on commissioning and construction at national and international conferences. For the last 12 years he has concentrated on developing improved operations and maintenance, decontamination procedures, and building commissioning procedures for laboratories, high performance, and complex facilities. He has developed a disciplined and comprehensive approach to total building commissioning in laboratories and research facilities. Michael specializes in commissioning BSL-3, BSL-3E, and BSL-3AG facilities.

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