FSU Opens New Science Building

TALAHASSEE, Fla. — A new $53 million building for Florida State University’s science quadrangle was completed this summer to accommodate half of the services needed for the biological sciences department.

The 180,000-square-foot life sciences building, an underground 10,000-square-foot cage wash facility and a landscaped plaza with green roofs was designed by architectural firm Elliott Marshall Innes, of Tallahassee, Fla., and the Atlanta office of Lord, Aeck and Sargent.

As architect of record, EMI designed the building and cage wash exterior, common areas that are shared among other buildings at the science quadrangle and the plaza. LAS programmed and designed the teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, support spaces and other facilities.

One of the biggest challenges was fitting the building onto a small site that was limited by a nearby street and existing campus buildings, according to LAS. The building also had to mesh with the Jacobethan architectural style of existing buildings, which was made popular in the 1830s and uses concepts first introduced in the 1500s.

“The site and strict architectural design requirements drove the design of the building,” says Brad Innes, a principal at EMI. “Typically, science buildings have wide floorplates, but Jacobethan building has steeply pitched roofs, which necessitate fairly narrow floorplates.”
Architects accommodated the style requirements by using a combination of low-sloped and steeply pitched roofs, integrating a greenhouse complex on the roof and eliminated redundancy by using an existing loading dock.

Common areas are shared among other buildings at the science quadrangle.

Glass was incorporated with the redbrick and precast stone to promote a transparent environment and relationships outside of work areas.

“A conscious effort was made to stitch the imagery of the building back to what the university wanted without it becoming a literal copy of the early 20th century buildings on campus,” Innes says.

Space is included for cell and molecular biology, ecology, and evolution studies. The facility also houses environmental science, physiology and neuroscience areas.

“We created an adaptable laboratory design, with the teaching and research labs stacked so that the former can be converted to research labs if needed in the future,” says Warren Williams, a principal at LAS that served as project manager. “We also designed the lab modules to allow for easy reconfiguration of fume hoods, laboratory utilities and power to the benches.”

Project Team

Architect of Record Elliott Marshall Innes, P.A. of Tallahassee, Fla.
Consulting Architect: Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Inc. (Atlanta), laboratory programming and laboratory design
Electrical and Structural Engineer: Tilden, Lobnitz, Cooper; of Tallahassee
Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect: Moore Bass Consulting, of Tallahassee
Construction Manager: LLT Building Corporation, of Tallahassee
Commissioning Agent: Newcomb & Boyd, of Atlanta

Support space was located at the center of each floor to allow natural light from large windows in the lab spaces.

Planners are hoping the LEED-registered building will achieve LEED certification with several environmentally friendly features including water conservation efforts, indoor air quality management, bike racks and preferred parking for low-emitting vehicles.

“Because many mainstream sustainable features had already been included in the building’s design, it was still possible to gain enough points to apply for LEED certification by making a few strategic modifications,” Williams says.