A Sustainable Learning Laboratory Building at Webster University In Saint Louis

Punit Jain, CannonDesign

This presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing sustainable solutions in a comprehensive multidisciplinary teaching and research building at Webster University on a constrained site adjacent to another LEED certified building.

The design carefully places the large four-story structure within the campus' intimate scale of existing buildings. The building steps down toward the center of the campus – its form and scale complementing the existing architecture. The auditorium, placed on the lowest level, has access to a newly created garden.

The 88,000 GSF Interdisciplinary Science Building triples the number of science labs on campus and houses the departments of Anthropology, Sociology & Psychology, Institute for Human Rights, International Languages & Cultures, Nurse Anesthesia, Nursing, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics –disciplines that were located in multiple buildings throughout the campus.

In addition to teaching and research labs for the departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, the Nursing program will include a Health Assessment Lab with Mock Patient Beds while a Cadaver Lab, Dry Skills Lab, and Simulation Lab will support the Nurse Anesthesia program. The program also includes a Quantitative Lab for the Sociology & Psychology department and a teaching kitchen for the International Languages & Cultures program.

The new building is pursuing LEED certification and will transform the institution's focus on interdisciplinary science and support greater academic collaboration and the region's growing science and technology industry. With collaboration spaces located on all levels, the building will promote undergraduate research and faculty/student interaction both inside and outside the labs.

Learning Objectives

  • learn how to design a sustainable multi-program interdisciplinary science building on a constrained campus site;
  • learn how to integrate multiple disciplines in a single building that is flexible to accommodate change;
  • better understand how to promote undergraduate research and enhance student/faculty interaction; and
  • how to design a Nursing Simulation Lab and other specialized teaching labs.


A LEED Fellow and leader in the science, technology and sustainability practices at CannonDesign, Punit Jain brings extensive experience in the integration of systems, spaces and experiences for a wide range of clients. Having designed over 25 LEED projects, he is responsible for generating innovative solutions in regenerative and net-zero design for complex scientific facilities at a campus and building scale. Punit serves on the national board of I2SL and the advisory board of SEFA.


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