Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory, Phase II

University of Michigan
Published 3-19-2014
  • Fume-Hood-Intensive West Lab

    Photo by © Curt Clayton

  • Bench-Intensive East Lab

    Photo by © Curt Clayton

  • Sundial

    Photo by © Curt Clayton

The Phase II renovation of Michigan Memorial Phoenix Laboratory (MMPL)—located in a three-story, Cold-War-era facility—contains more than 3,000 sf of chemistry wet lab space, plus a 10,161-sf addition housing the University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI, formerly called the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute). The UMEI, previously housed in temporary administrative offices, develops, coordinates, and promotes multidisciplinary energy research and education at the University.

The MMPL building sits on a slope, with the first level below grade on the west side fronting the drive and above grade on the east side. In this phase of the renovation, the entire 9,900-sf second level was gutted, and the south-side entrance eliminated. (In Phase 1, the third level was gutted and programmed with two large, flexible research laboratories, offices, and conference rooms.) The new Phase II program includes office space and two large chemistry labs, one 2,108-sf lab with 12 fume hoods and a 1,082-sf lab with two. Both labs are equipped with overhead service carriers and mobile benches; about 80 percent of the cabinetry and work surfaces are mobile, offering the flexibility necessary to adapt to changes in scientific research. MMPL’s exterior is almost 100 percent glazed, infusing the labs with an abundance of natural light. The second-level renovation also includes offices for principal research investigators and postdoctoral research scholars.

An east-west corridor at the south end of the second level joins the existing building to the ground level of the newly constructed UMEI, and in turn, the addition’s second level joins with the original building’s third level. At the point where the two buildings connect are the new main entryway to UMEI, a monumental stair, two offices, and two restrooms. Its program includes 14 offices for UMEI principal investigators, an executive conference room, and a smaller meeting space.

The two-story exposed steel structure is rounded in front and clad with matching red brick and glass on the ground floor and a glass curtain wall that wraps around the upper floor’s east, south, and west façades. The ground floor is shaded by the overhang of the upper floor, and the upper floor is shaded by a horizontal fritted glass sunscreen.

The addition’s ground level houses three conference rooms, support spaces, and a collaborative gathering space used by the University’s College of Engineering. The lobby features a sundial that tells the solar time of day in Ann Arbor.

Below grade is an accessible level that houses the chilled beam mechanical system, as well as the electrical, data, and plumbing systems.

The addition has been certified LEED Gold.

Project Data
Project Type: 
Expansion, Renovation
Completion Date: 
April, 2013
Ann Arbor, MI
Delivery Method: 
Design/Bid/Build, General Contractor (GC), Single Bid
Project GSF: 
Project Cost: 
Construction Cost: 
Building Descriptors: 
Conference Room
Higher Education
Laboratory: Research
Laboratory: Teaching
Laboratory: Wet
Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra Company
De Maria Building Company
Robert Darvas Associates
Structural Engineer
Peter Basso Associates, Inc.
MEP/FP Engineers
Midwestern Consulting
Civil Engineer
Van Sickle & Rolleri
Exhibit Consultant
Johnson Controls Inc.
Building Controls
Governaire Corporation
Air Handlers
Detroit Technical Equipment Company
Lab Equipment
Fume Hood Controls