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Research and Development Laboratory Building

BSA LifeStructures; Andrew Lough, AIA

Shared By

Chelsea Blahut, Hanley Wood LLC

Project Name

Research and Development Laboratory Building

Project Status


Year Completed





  • Civil Engineer: BSA LifeStructures
  • Structural Engineer: TRC Worldwide
  • : BSA LifeStructures
  • Interior Designer: Maregatti Interiors

Certifications and Designations

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Project Description


The process of discovery is by definition dynamic and changeable. As such, it requires a dynamic and changeable space, and one that supports both the inspired efforts of the lone researcher and the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team. This definition was instrumental in the design of the Research and Development Laboratory Building. The spaces inside the building are themselves tools for discovery,created to accommodate the evolving nature of research and enable scientists to bring ideas to life and to
market. The facility is home for high-tech equipment and modular spaces that can be customized to specific projects and adapted for future needs. The end result is a facility that supports the entrepreneurial spirit that leads to groundbreaking and life-enhancing discoveries.

The Research and Development Laboratory Building expands space for the client’s research and development division and addresses their need for additional space. The facility is designed to accommodate new technologies that help them expand their research and development capacity. The expansion supports the organization’s mission to shape the future of agriculture and to conduct research that feeds the world.

The project team was guided by four goals that drove the facility’s design:
1. Collaboration. The client has a collaborative work process that the new facility promotes and caters towards. The new facility creates a dynamic energy among employees and promotes a sense of community that reflects the collective work flow of the organization. The design is intended to attract new employees and top researchers.
2. Innovation. Innovation is the foundation of their research and development vision. The new facility fosters learning and discovery and links technology and innovation to their processes.
3. Inspiration. The discoveries that are made in this building have an impact on people throughout the world. The new facility promotes the health of their staff and maintains their passion and drive to support their work. The new facility will also reflect the organization’s global purpose and responsibility by being sustainable.
4. Adaptation. The research and development field is ever changing and the new facility reflects and accommodates that change. This new facility serves as a building block for growth.

The building is two stories and connects to an existing research and development building that supports 160 new employees in a state of the art Biotech/Bio Processing lab environment. The lab and support spaces occupy approximately 110,000 of the nearly 200,000 square feet in the new building. Additionally, a new 14,000 square foot greenhouse expansion was added to the existing greenhouses on campus. The greenhouse features a sophisticated control system that heats and cools the space, provides shading and delivers watering and fertilization. Plant growth lighting is able to be raised and lowered to allow a variety of plant research and growth.

In addition to the lab space, the design team created an open office design that promotes collaboration among employees. The design features wood veneer, stone, tile and decorative lighting to move away from traditional institutional design. The wood used in the interior of the building is from a reclaimed barn that pays homage to the organization’s agricultural heritage and past. The new addition is connected to the existing building by a landscaped courtyard.

The exterior of the new building compliments the existing architectural vocabulary on the campus. The project team’s design grows the material palette, while staying true to the “state-of-the-art” styling that is manifested in the client’s existing facilities and brand.

The laboratory spaces were designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind to easily accommodate future changes in technology and research pursuits. This is specifically accomplished using a modular physical environment. Systematic and modular laboratory bays allow the building’s floor plan to change depending on the department or function.

The system also has an integrated window system that allows residual day lighting to filter further into the internal lab and building spaces. This helps facilitate user productivity in these spaces and allows collaboration spaces to be moved from the perimeter of the building closer to the laboratory spaces. This encourages the users to use these spaces and collaborate with their peers.

The facility is LEED certified and further strengthens the client’s commitment to the environment and their role as an innovator in their market.
their role as an innovator in their market.
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