Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center, Northwestern University
with Perkins + Will
To provide a glimpse into the research at this cutting edge biomedical facility, Atelier Ten optimized the transparent double-skin façade to bring in daylight and mitigate heat gain and glare for building occupants. At completion, the LEED Gold project was the largest solely dedicated biomedical research building at an American medical school.
Atelier Ten explored various sustainability strategies including analysis of the façades, selection of native plants and vegetation to help stromwater runoff, inviting and energy efficient lighting, and specified sustainable and durable materials.
Atelier Ten optimized the building façade for occupant comfort and reduced peak cooling loads, including a 30-story double-skin on the south façade. The double skin facade at the south elevation maximizes transparency and provides protection for an optimized shading system to improve visual comfort, reduce heat gain, and provide views for the researchers. Atelier Ten studied the daylighting conditions at the south facing workspaces adjacent to the double skin façade to devise shading strategies. By testing variations of the façade’s internal cavity blinds, Atelier Ten developed schedules for the deployment of blinds and interior shades for optimal illuminance levels in work areas, minimizing the potential for visual discomfort.
The lighting design interacts with the architecture to create a dynamic and inviting environment while minimizing lighting energy use. In lab spaces, evenly illuminated ceilings and bench-integrated lighting provide targeted lighting for research tasks while enhancing visual comfort of researchers and minimizing connected lighting loads. Sloped ceilings at the perimeter of the lab floors are indirectly illuminated from custom-detailed troughs integrated into the curtain wall system, creating a comfortable visual environment for building occupants and a dynamic nighttime presence for the building.
The melding of light and architecture continues on the public floors. In the all glass Wintergarden, luminaires seamlessly connect to the structure supporting the glazing, providing illumination for general use and special events. In the lecture hall, perimeter cove lights concealed above the wavy wood ceiling graze the wall opposite a glass facade, balancing vertical brightness and separating architectural planes. Throughout the building, sophisticated lighting controls, including daylight-responsive dimming and occupancy sensing, reduce light power consumption. Individually addressable luminaires allow for future space reconfiguation.