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Energy Sciences Building


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HDRarchitecture, HDR

Project Name

Energy Sciences Building


9700 South Cass Avenue B109


Project Status


Year Completed



158,000 sq. feet


Argonne National Laboratory

Certifications and Designations

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Project Description

The new Energy Sciences Building (ESB) signals the transformation of Argonne's campus to an interdisciplinary and sustainable campus; with its north entrance façade becoming a new face for science. Its design ushers in a change to a pedestrian-focused campus, with the road outside closed to vehicles, and new links created to connect other buildings around a new energy sciences quadrangle. A "sky-gate" at the end of the building anchors the pedestrian path that will link campus.

The new architectural vocabulary celebrates the trans-disciplinary science, while complementing the red brick buildings on campus. The ESB is clad in glass curtain wall and bronze-colored metal panels, and is designed to be transparent, revealing activity inside. In plan, the building is simple, with two large, open labs on each floor bisected by the entrance and collaboration atrium. The labs are extremely efficient for the type of fume-hood-intensive, big-equipment projects conducted here. An innovative layout includes a central service corridor and utility zone providing 37 different gases. Open and closed offices and meeting spaces line the exterior walls of the lab floors.

In addition to transforming the campus, the building is designed to change the way people work; moving from a departmental structure to a free-address system that is project- and tool-based. Throughout the design process, the design team held open meetings and workshops for any scientists and staff members interested in attending; fostering connections even before the building was completed. The participatory, transparent approach helped to change the direction of a slow-moving government work culture to a more open, industry-competitive way of working.
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