University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building

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University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building

A gateway to the medical school and a mediator between the main and medical school campuses, the Biomedical Science Research Building defines a new paradigm for laboratory design, conceived to encourage interaction and the cross-fertilization of ideas.

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The building responds directly to the collaborative nature of the work that takes place inside, providing an architectural solution to the divergent needs of individual disciplines while bringing them together in innovative ways.

Todd Schliemann, Design Partner
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Two laboratory blocks and a sinuous office ribbon are connected by bridges across a full-height, skylit, publically-accessible atrium. This innovative planning strategy separates scientists’ private offices from their research spaces; the need to traverse the atrium sponsors community by increasing the possibility of interaction and reducing the insularity of the standard research environment.

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Interaction among researchers is further encouraged by open stairs in the office ribbon, locating break rooms and conference rooms at high traffic circulation nodes, and by including unassigned seating areas along the office ribbon.

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The ribbon’s distinctive double-glass curtain wall acts as a foil to the rectilinear geometry of the laboratories and brings natural light into the traditionally sterile laboratory environment. The project responds to the character of its campus site, including the consideration of student pathways and continuity with the adjacent green space.

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Ventilated in summer and closed in winter, the double-glass façade conserves energy and creates a comfortable interior environment with excellent daylight quality and shading control. The terra cotta block and stainless steel panel rain screen wall enclosure system on the lab facades provides increased insulation, less air infiltration, and requires no scheduled maintenance.

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Ann Arbor, MI
491,666 GSF
240 Labs, 120 Offices, Break Rooms, Conference rooms, 300-seat auditorium, Three Combinable Seminar Rooms, Research Support


Ennead Design Team
Todd Schliemann, Duncan Hazard, Thomas Wong, David Wallance, Charles Griffith, William Clark, Charmian Place, Karl Hirschmann, Katharine Huber, Lori Pavese Mazor, Todd Van Varick, John Alber, Gary Anderson, Jason Buchheit, Anna Ho, Douglas Kawano, Tara Leibenhaut-Tyre, Jane Lin, James Macho, Brian Masuda, Lois Mate, Anh Montgomery, Bryan Natinsky, Mark Pisani, James Rhee
Laboratory Consultant
Jacobs Consultancy, GPR Planners Collaborative
Photography / Videography
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects


  • 2009
    • National Design Award, Society of American Registered Architects
    • Award of Merit, Society of American Registered Architects/New York Council
  • 2007
    • AIA National Honor Award for Architecture
  • 2006
    • Citation, AIA/New York State


  • 2008
    • "Facility Focus: University of Michigan Biomedical Science Research Building" (College Planning & Management, 10/2008)
    • Bomey, Nathan. "U-M Biomedical Science Building at 100% Capacity" (Ann Arbor Business Review, 1/10/2008)
  • 2007
    • Brown, Diane. "BSRB receives national nod" (The University of Michigan, 1/24/2007)
    • Gershman, Dave. "Biomedical science building wins international award" (The Ann Arbor News, 1/18/2007)
    • Sokol, David. "Twenty-Nine Exemplary Works Earn 2007 AIA Honor Awards" (Architectural Record (online), 1/16/2007)
    • "AIA Institute Honor Awards 2007" (The Architect's Newspaper, 2/1/2007)
  • 2006
    • "Atrium links two different masses" (Architectural Record, 7/2006)
  • 2005
    • Reuter, Anne. "Chipping away at convention, 'Pringle' auditorium provides human scale to new U-M building" (The Ann Arbor News (9/13/2005)
  • 2003
    • "University of Michigan Medical School Biomedical Research Facility" (Real Estate and Construction Review, Vol. 3, 2003)