Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick
  • Associate Architect: BWS Architects
  • General Contractor: McCarthy Building Companies
  • Structural Engineer: KPFF
  • Civil Engineer: Dibble & Associates
  • Mep: AEI
  • Landscape Architect: TrueForm
  • Laboratory Planning: Jacobs Consultancy
  • Cost Estimating: Capital Projects Group
  • Acoustical Consultant: Colin Gordon Associates
  • Emi Consultant : VitaTech Electromagnetics
  • Associate Structural Engineer: Advanced Structural Engineering
  • Client: Arizona State University

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Text description provided by the architects. The 188,447 SF research facility was intended to establish an identity as a striking campus gateway, while also delivering on the client’s need for a sustainable “workhorse” laboratory building. The building’s five above-grade levels and basement will house various scientific disciplines that will utilize the building’s mixture of laboratories, which includes high bay space, high hood-density laboratories, and three levels of generic life sciences laboratories. The custom-designed, heavily reinforced basement level will house the world’s first compact X-ray free-electron laser.


Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

The building’s primary form is an expression of the three research “neighborhoods” that comprise each floor plan. Forming the northern edge of a research quadrangle centered on a James Turrell installation, the three building segments have been strategically positioned to protect the view from within the installation. The distinctive copper exterior is a nod to Arizona’s roots (copper being one of Arizona’s historic “Five Cs” that drove the state’s early economy) and a unique expression of the reddish hue that permeates the campus architecture.


Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Designed to achieve LEED Platinum®, with an energy savings goal of 44% compared to existing campus laboratories, Biodesign C is intended to be the most energy efficient lab on campus. Balancing performance, aesthetics, and budget, the distinctive outer copper screen wraps around a primary skin of insulated metal panels to create a high-performance dual façade. Comprised of thousands of copper panels, the screen features eight different levels of perforation. Intensive studies of the site’s micro-climate and façade-specific conditions informed their calibration and positioning to minimize solar heat gain, optimize daylighting and visual comfort, and provide unobstructed views out.




Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

As a shading device, the screen reduces the surface temperature of the inner façade by roughly 65 degrees on hot summer days, significantly reducing the cooling load on perimeter spaces.


Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Further combining form and function, a plaza has been carved out of the building’s base, which allows for al fresco breaks and meetings, despite the desert heat. Three levels of labs located directly above such a space would typically require heavy concrete shear walls. However, melding design excellence and structural integrity, a series of sloped and vertical columns was devised to provide lateral bracing. While an elegant and innovative design solution, it posed a unique challenge—some columns are angled, some upright, and one is three stories tall. Multiple large-scale mockups helped perfect the mix and formwork for each condition.


Sustainability Diagram

Sustainability Diagram

The building’s biophilic design elements are intended to foster a positive, productive indoor environment, while maintaining connection with nature and community. A 35% window-to-wall ratio and transparent layering of spaces ensures daylight floods above-grade interiors. Abundant windows and the glass-enclosed lobby overlook active campus thoroughfares and a grove of vibrant palo verdes. Glass hangar doors seamlessly connect ground-floor maker spaces with the grove. The untreated copper façade will patina gradually, emulating the irregular, ever-evolving colors and textures of the desert.


Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

Nick Merrick © Hall+Merrick

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