Based on a tremendous need for “spec” lab space within the university community, the architect was commissioned to design a 43,000-square-foot business incubator lab facility within the university-sponsored Research Park. Occupants of the new facility will be startup companies primarily from the University of Illinois community. These smaller companies will be able to ASSOCIATED FIRMHenneman Raufeisen & Associates Inc.-Architect of Record/EngineersCOST PER SQ FT$186.00FEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio into other second- and third-stage research and office buildings within the park as they grow. The laboratory building is designed to allow the commercialization of research within the university. The building consists of flexible labs, offices, business support services, meeting rooms and other support areas.
The incubator facility is meant to be a “jewel” of the new Research Park. The architectural result is a cost-effective building with a high-tech appearance that is respectful of more traditional campus architecture. The constrained budget and restrictive project needs presented a challenge to the design team. Both high efficiency and flexible space for future needs were project requirements. The design minimizes necessary circulation and mechanical space while still incorporating important common space.
The design incorporated a “lab block” component and two office components. The lab block is divided into 24 modules that can be either shelled or fit-out as lab or office space in a ratio that is practical to the budget. Because tenants were not pre-specified, this shell space creates an asset to the incubator—fit-out can be directed by each client. Whether spaces are used as labs or offices, each of the modules in the lab block could become labs in the future.
The project includes sustainable-design features such as daylighted labs and energy-efficient systems. The project team created a building with 69 percent efficiency, designed and constructed on a fast-track schedule.