BBS Architects Engineers

The University of Iowa

Chemistry Building Addition & Renovation
Chemistry Building Addition & Renovation
Chemistry Building Addition & Renovation

Laboratory Consultant: Research Facilities Design
Project Data:

  • New Construction: 50,000 SF
  • Renovated Construction: 110,000 SF

Construction Completed: 2010
Construction Cost: $35,000,000–4 phases

BBS Architects | Engineers was selected to design a major addition and renovations that implement the initial phases of a long range master plan. The Chemistry Building, designed by the firm's predecessor firm in the 1920s and added to in the 1960s, occupies a full city block in the heart of the campus.

The schematic design approach recommended by BBSAE and approved by the University results in several advantages over previous planning recommendations by replacing the central portion of the building with new infill construction. This design provides teaching labs free from structural columns, optimizes the library layout on one floor level, enhances east-west internal circulation, zones high activity spaces to locations more directly accessible from the exterior, and locates Chemical Stores in a location more accessible for deliveries and building occupants.

The site design is closely integrated with the historic original 1920s building and steeply sloping site though the use of special pavings, brick piers with metal fencing and plantings. Service functions are grouped and screened. The new infill addition, visible from the north, is clad in brick with symmetrically arranged windows to visually transition between the adjacent 1920s building to the east and the 1960s addition to the west. New exit stairs screened by brick walls relate to the 1960s architecture of the west auditorium wing.

Teaching laboratories are positioned in the new infill addition and research laboratories in the existing northeast wing. Laboratories feature cutting edge high performance fume hoods to optimize user safety and life cycle costs. New classrooms, offices, lab and building support spaces are all designed for a growing chemistry department. The entire building is being improved with new windows and a fire sprinkler system. All construction was accomplished in 4 major phases while the chemistry department continuously occupied the building.

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