Researchers are continuing to move in to Boston University's Life Science and Engineering Building, recently completed in April 2005. The new 187,000-sf facility houses research laboratories dedicated to the fields of biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, and bioinformatics. Forty-five permanent faculty members will perform university, private, and grant-driven research there, including research funded by a Whitaker Foundation grant for biomedical engineering and a $10-million grant from NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study new methodologies to produce novel chemical libraries for biological screening.
The Life Science and Engineering Building is designed to expand Boston University's capacity for interdisciplinary collaboration. It also will allow the university to continue to involve graduate and undergraduate students with researchers, helping to train a new generation of scientific researchers to lead advances in the multidisciplinary sciences of the future. The flexible lab design in the new facility supports this interdisciplinary approach to molecular, systems, and computational research. Flexible design also means that space can be divided and allocated according to research interests, instead of along departmental lines.
"This leading-edge facility will support innovative and dynamic investigators from many disciplines who will collaborate to strengthen the University's position at the forefront of scientific research. A state-of-the-art science center that attracts private, corporate, and governmental research interests is integral to the long-term success of Boston University's science and engineering program," says Boston University Provost ad interim David K. Campbell.
Where possible, the various research teams and departments share common spaces and support areas, and faculty offices and conferencing areas are grouped together. Common areas include a 144-seat seminar hall, and a conferencing center that accommodates 50. A central receiving and chemical-dispensing facility serves the new building as well as the existing laboratory buildings on either side.
The flexibility of the building's design ensures that it will be able to accommodate technological change for decades to come. A basic, reconfigurable lab module has been developed and implemented, as has the basic building block of the floor plate. Lab casework is modular, utilizing "off-the-shelf" sizes wherever possible. The resulting space is easily convertible to meet the changing needs of future researchers.
A dense urban site, a small footprint, and specific area requirements for first-class research space made for an extremely complex design challenge. The resulting design fulfills Boston University's needs and delivers a building that is approximately 83 percent efficient. Although the slab-to-slab height is only 13' 4"—extremely tight for a laboratory building—services have been carefully arranged to allow for a task/ambient lighting scheme that can provide properly distributed, energy-efficient illumination.