Rice University opened the Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science in September of 2023 in Houston. Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with Scientia Architects as laboratory design consultant, the $152 million facility provides maker spaces, seminar rooms, a dedicated prototyping center, two classrooms, and nearly 50 labs. Flexible office areas include touchdown spaces for faculty, graduate students, and staff. Housing the George R.
Northeastern University opened the $300 million EXP building in September of 2023 in Boston. Featuring a 15,000-sf maker space, the 357,000-sf facility offers active learning environments, teaching and research labs, executive offices, a faculty club, and a café. A range of meeting and collaboration venues will catalyze interdisciplinary discovery and exchange.
Virginia Tech is planning to break ground in spring of 2024 on a $292 million engineering building located in the North Academic District in Blacksburg. Replacing an existing structure, Mitchell Hall will act as a centralized hub for several departments including mechanical, chemical, aerospace, and ocean engineering. The five-story, 285,500-gsf development was designed by Perkins&Will to foster experiential learning with student collaboration spaces on every level.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began construction in September of 2023 on the $240 million Energy and Minerals Research Facility in Golden, Colo. Sited on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines, the 190,000-sf building will enable 250 USGS researchers to work side-by-side with 68 of the university's investigators and 150 students. This collaborative nexus for applied geosciences will include state-of-the-art laboratories, faculty offices, graduate student workstations, a classroom, and a café.
Generative AI technologies like ChatGPT and DALL-E are expected to dramatically impact the design of science and research facilities by expediting creative ideation, improving process efficiency, and driving scientific innovation. To clear up some of the common misconceptions and learn how facility designers are actually using AI in the real world, Tradeline interviewed a cross-section of industry-leading professionals who specialize in science and research facilities to find out if—and how—they’re using AI technologies and what they see as some of the potential risks and benefits.
The University of Texas at Dallas and UT Southwestern opened the $120 million Texas Instruments Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Building in August of 2023. Located on the east campus of UT Southwestern Medical Center, the 150,000-sf facility accommodates innovative research programs in artificial intelligence, robotics, and molecular and genetic engineering. The five-story structure provides state-of-the-art wet labs, dry labs, and collaboration spaces where multidisciplinary teams will discover new medical solutions and technologies.
University of Arkansas Breaks Ground on Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility
The University of Arkansas broke ground in August of 2023 on the $36 million Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility (MUSiC) in Fayetteville. Located in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, the 18,660-sf building will produce microelectronic chips made with silicon carbide, a powerful semiconductor that outperforms basic silicon in several critical ways.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham broke ground in July of 2023 on the $84 million Frances and Miller Gorrie Hall. Housing the School of Engineering, the 116,000-sf facility will enable a progressive pedagogy that blends academic instruction with hands-on learning and industry experience. With a welcoming commons opening onto an outdoor patio, the vibrant structure will provide flexible teaching and research labs, a design and prototyping lab, and a 2,000-sf materials testing lab.
Virginia Commonwealth University will break ground in fall of 2023 on the $253 million CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation in Richmond. Designed by William Rawn Associates and Glavé & Holmes Architecture, the 213,000-sf facility will feature flexible classroom spaces, interdisciplinary performance venues, maker spaces, and an expansive atrium with an interactive staircase.
Training the scientists and engineers of the future requires academic spaces that are as much as a story taller and 1,000 sf bigger than in the past, and better-equipped to support entrepreneurship, industry partnerships, and hands-on learning. In addition to the standard makerspaces—with metal shops, machining labs, woodshops, prototyping, and 3D printing—students are also experimenting with wind tunnels and large water tanks.
Carnegie Mellon University will break ground in August of 2023 on the $90 million Robotics Innovation Center in Pittsburgh. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the three-story, 150,000-sf facility will provide reconfigurable high-bay labs, pre-incubator space for affiliated companies, and flexible R&D venues that address robotics systems at different scales. A two-story testing enclosure will be accompanied by an outdoor environment where engineers can see the effects that different types of terrain have on their machines.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham opened the first phase of the Science and Engineering Complex in August of 2023. The $76 million facility was designed by Goodwyn Mills Cawood as a collaborative nexus for teaching and research in the basic sciences. Collocating undergraduate and graduate programs, the four-story, 145,784-sf building accommodates the departments of biology and physics, as well as providing lab and support space for the department of chemistry.
Caltech has begun site work for the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Center for Quantum Precision Measurement in Pasadena, Calif. Designed by HOK, the four-story, 116,451-sf facility will support interdisciplinary research programs in quantum sensing, quantum information, and gravitational-wave detection. Open interaction zones and collaboration spaces will promote dynamic knowledge exchange and discovery, complemented by a range of office settings and meeting rooms.
Case Western Reserve University is planning to construct the $300 million Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building in Cleveland. Providing additional capacity for the College of Arts and Sciences, the 200,000-sf project will also house the School of Engineering and the Next Generation Health Care Initiative, a biomedical research hub for the creation of novel medical treatments and technologies.
Middle Tennessee State University broke ground in June of 2023 on the $74.8 million Applied Engineering Building in Murfreesboro. Strategically sited next to the new School of Concrete and Construction Management, the 89,000-sf facility will house the university's renowned mechatronics program and other engineering technology courses. Specialized learning environments such as the Co-Bot Workplace Development Center will provide students with unique opportunities for experiential education.