Marcus Nanotechnology Research Centre Georgia Institute of Technology Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA Completion: 2009 GFA: 17,700 m2 Photography: Nic Lehoux
The $70 million project accommodates a programme of about 17,700 gross square metres, including 2,800 square metres of cleanroom floor space for organic and inorganic research, and approximately three times that amount in support spaces, including flexible lab space, office and conference facilities, and a central public area for circulation and social activities. The architects set out to transcend the project's rigorous technical requirements to achieve a humanistic, campus-oriented building that would reflect the excitement of cutting-edge research. The site posed design challenges: a tight, steeply sloping parcel bordered by streets on three sides, and on the fourth by the university's planned Eco Commons landscape, an innovative sustainable oasis for the urban campus. In response to the programme, the architects joined the cleanroom block and the lab/office wing with a linear gallery. Arrayed along the street edges, the assembly allows multiple pedestrian entries and controlled vehicle access at varying grade conditions, while keeping hazardous material delivery and storage areas separate. The gallery maximises natural light and views, while the landscaped hillside can accommodate an expected second phase laboratory and office building. Most of the cleanroom space is arranged in an open-plan "ballroom" design for inorganic research and other future uses; a smaller portion for organic research has a bay-and-chase layout for necessary airflow segregation.
1. The building embedded in the slope and landscape, as viewed from the north 2. Entry to the laboratory, conference and office wing
Ribbed precast concrete panels clad the main cleanroom block, whose primary visual expression is a copper panel screen wall enclosing the central mass and its peripheral support areas in a unified architectural whole. Perforated to varying degrees, the panels allow different levels of daylight penetration. The solid/perforated cleanroom envelope contrasts with the transparent glass laboratory/office/conference wing, which inflects back towards the central entry and projects out at the upper corners, enhancing views of the new pedestrian zone, the Eco Commons, and the campus to the south. A varied rhythm of translucent and clear glazing encloses open spaces on all floors, i.e., open office and conference breakout areas on the main level, and graduate student workstations on upper floors. Generous interior glazing and a stepped ceiling profile bring natural light and views to inner enclosed offices and lab bays. The heart of the building is the two-storey central public gallery that forms a north-south spine connecting the office, conference, laboratory and cleanroom functions. It is a social gathering space that enjoys daylight and views to the surrounding landscapes. Upon entering, one encounters a row of windows that extends the full length of the gallery, offering views into the nanotechnology laboratories. A profiled wood screen finished in a dark grey stain to complement
Published on Mar 17, 2011
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