Today McCarthy Building Companies celebrates the topping out of the $120 million Biodesign Institute C Research Building at Arizona State University (ASU). The building represents the third in ASU’s Biodesign Institute complex located on the main campus in Tempe, Ariz.
The new 189,000 square-foot research facility includes five stories, a mechanical penthouse, plus a basement that connects with the ASU Biodesign Institute B building and will house the world’s first compact free electron x-ray laser. The project is comprised of 66,000-square-feet of flexible lab space for up to 80 lead researchers and 300 support staff who will be supporting ASU’s goal of increasing research revenue to $700 million by 2020. The building’s adaptable design will accommodate multiple types of scientific research, including chemistry, biological sciences and engineering research. The building, comprised mostly of wet laboratories and offices, also includes high-bay spaces.
The project team, which includes architects Zimmer Gunsul Frasca and BWS Architects in addition to general contractor McCarthy Building Companies, is employing the latest in virtual reality technology and modeling to successfully execute this project for fast-track completion in spring 2018. Some of the design and construction solutions implemented to date include:
w Building a small exterior mockup on site using building materials to test for any deficiencies before actual construction. This mockup was put through extreme worst-case scenarios of wind, water and smoke tests to ensure energy efficiency.
w Creating an interior lab space mockup for researchers to understand placement of important features like sinks, gas outlets, counter heights, etc.
w Developing an extensive pour process for the 19 white concrete columns, ensuring consistent color, sharp edges, smooth surface and precise angles to fulfil the design goal of support while also serving as a building showpiece.
w Degaussing (the process of decreasing or eliminating a remnant magnetic field) all rebar in linear accelerator and laser labs, which saved approximately $1 million.
“Topping out marks a significant milestone in the construction process, signaling the final beam placement of a new structure,” said Justin Kelton, president of McCarthy Building Companies’ Southwest division. “For a research facility of world-class caliber like Biodesign Institute C represents, topping out is even more meaningful because it brings with it significant hope for our future and the promise of new discoveries and innovations.”
Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., Biodesign’s executive director and a renowned cancer researcher, sees the addition of this new space as concrete evidence of ASU’s significant commitment to leading the field with discoveries that keep people and the planet healthy.
“Powered by intellect, energy and innovation, our researchers believe they can accomplish what others often find impossible,” he said. “With the addition of Biodesign C, we will soon have nearly 700 scientists of all kinds – biologists, engineers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer technologists – and students working together to find creative and clean solutions for energy, air and water. We will invent new diagnostics and treatments that are accessible and affordable, and in some cases, we expect to be able to halt disease before it even begins.”
Biodesign Institute C will house a key drug discovery and bioenergy research tool – the world’s first compact free electron x-ray laser – a super X-ray that will peer deep inside proteins to better understand both the action of molecules critical to cancer and other devastating diseases, and better understand how plants convert sunlight into renewable energy. Scientists of varying disciplines will be in the lab’s “neighborhoods,” a layout of close proximity that encourages collaboration. The design is modeled after state-of-the-art research complexes like the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., which was also built by McCarthy.
Additionally, following ASU’s green building standards, Biodesign Institute C has been designed to the highest levels of sustainability and includes an innovative HVAC system to limit its energy and environmental footprint. Upon completion, Biodesign Institute C will bring the total research square footage of the Biodesign complex to 535,000 square feet.