Ennead Architects and SmithGroup have celebrated the grand opening of the Biological Sciences Building (BSB) at the University of Michigan.
Characterized by a transparent, open-lab concept that combines cutting-edge scientific research and the new home of the U-M Museum of Natural History, the BSB establishes a new paradigm in science education for a university that is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading research institutions.
Located on the university’s main campus the 312,000-square-foot facility creates a new home for the departments of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology; ecology and evolutionary biology; and teaching for its paleontology and zoology museums. The unique merging of the BSB with the newly re-envisioned Museum of Natural History gives the larger community access to the research coming out of these programs.
The facility’s layout and design are a dramatic departure from traditional rectilinear academic research environments that are divided into department and closed off from the public. BSB encourages collaboration and puts science on display in fresh new ways.
The five-story structure is comprised of three terracotta and glass-clad towers connected by two large and transparent atria that bring light deep into the laboratories and public spaces. Recalling a ‘cabinet of curiosities,’ the building form serves to showcase the institution’s mission to educate the public through these monumental views into the collections and research environment.
Designed to accommodate 90 principal investigators and their teams, the BSB includes 84 wet and dry research labs, classrooms, administrative offices, breakout spaces, and Darwin’s cafe.