2012 Laboratory of the Year
The organization of spaces in the 300,000 sf Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery research building ("Discovery") - collocating the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Morgridge Institute for Research - simultaneously serves energy efficiency, functional long-term flexibility, interdisciplinary collaboration, and public transparency. Highly flexible research neighborhoods - with reconfigurable overhead utility drops and "plug-and-play" accommodations for hoods and chilled beams - contain nested pods of focused lab spaces, surrounded by support space and offices, creating concentric thermal buffers, in turn surrounded by public spaces. Because research innovation happens at the interfaces of disciplines, these areas offer incidental gathering points and other means to foster creative collaboration. Energy-saving measures include natural ventilation of the public ground floor/atrium zones, a geoexchange system, aggressive heat recovery, and chilled beam technology, with the goal of consuming 50% less energy than comparable UW facilities. Delivered using Integrated Project Delivery, the Discovery building opened in December 2010, estimated to have been a year sooner than would have been possible using a design-bid-build approach. Discovery's mission is accelerating new knowledge to improve human health and well-being.