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Stoffer Hall: An Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory at Washburn University

Punit Jain, Cannon Design

Stoffer Hall is a multidisciplinary undergraduate teaching laboratory, located at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. It was built in 1958 and like many science buildings that were built during that period has come of age and needs updating, especially of the engineering systems. The science buildings, in many instances, also require additions to the existing structures, due to increase in student enrollment. These scenarios pose not only many design challenges but many opportunities, and Stoffer Hall is no exception.

This poster presentation will demonstrate design concepts that successfully realized the programmatic and sustainable goals of the client. The presentation will show how sustainable design strategies will enhance the experience for both students and faculty. The presentation will also show how this building will be more efficient for both teaching and research activity (lab modules will have the capability of being converted from research activities to more conventional teaching use, and vice versa), how common spaces in the building will foster interaction, learning, innovation and creativity and how science on display through views into labs and display opportunities in common areas will make learning a more rewarding experience.

Teaching labs that are designed to incorporate functions that are more prevalent in research labs will promote undergraduate research, and faculty offices that are located proximate to labs will encourage student interaction with faculty.

The project, although not pursuing LEED® certification at this point, is designed based on LEED principles and tracked as such. Most of the existing building is reused, with a modest addition that includes a vegetated roof. Daylight into both laboratories and offices coupled with occupancy sensors will result in an overall reduction in energy consumption. Views and stimulating colors and low VOC materials will all make the laboratory a more comfortable learning environment. Heat recovery will supplement the energy-efficient mechanical design. Low flow fixtures and native landscape without irrigation systems will conserve water. Salvaged stone exterior from the north façade where the addition occurs will be used on site walls.

Labs21 Connection:

An integrated design approach that included all disciplines and the client has resulted in an efficient and sustainable project. High performance and cutting edge systems combined with passive design and resource reuse reflect the Labs21 Approach. The design solution uses strategies that would achieve energy efficiency, human comfort, easy maintenance, operation and management. The design also allows for safety of its users and their research.


Punit Jain received his Bachelor of Architecture from University of Roorkee in India. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Masters in Construction Management from Washington University in St. Louis. With over fifteen years of experience in the practice of architecture in India and the U.S., he is currently employed as an Associate Vice President with Cannon Design, an international architectural, engineering, and interior design firm. As a leader of the team dedicated to researching technological and industry innovation and sustainability in the field of science and research buildings, he is involved in the design, research and planning of complex assignments. He has extensive experience in designing public, education and healthcare facilities.

Mr. Jain is a LEED accredited professional and chairs the St. Louis Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Heartland Regional Council, which is comprised of fifteen chapters and affiliates in the Heartland region. As the Heartland Regional Council Chair, Mr. Jain represents the council on the USGBC chapter steering committee and works directly with the USGBC National Board. As chapter chair, he has established an advocacy program directed towards local governments, institutes of higher education and building stakeholders to adopt LEED. He is also the Sustainable Design Coordinator for the St. Louis office of Cannon Design and is working on multiple LEED projects.

He is currently working on the Stoffer Hall Science Building for Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Jain has also worked on the Health Sciences Research building at St. Louis University, the Biomedical Research Building at Kansas University Medical Center and the Center for Applied Nanomedicine for Washington University in St. Louis, all of which are under construction. His other project experience includes the Kinesiology Research Center at University of Calgary; the Biomedical Research Development Complex Project at IIT Chicago; the New Mexico Highlands University Science and Technology Building in Las Vegas, NV; and the Advanced Technology Center at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, FL.

A Rotary Foundation Scholar and recipient of honor awards from the National Institute of Architectural Education, New York, and the American Institute of Architects, St. Louis, he has been invited to present at professional conferences nationwide including Labs21, MOBIO, and Greenbuild. He has served as a visiting design critic at architecture schools and has also taught at the St. Louis Community College and at Maryville University in St. Louis.

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