University of Chicago Gordon Center for Integrative Science

Health & Science

LOCATION: Chicago, Illinois
COMPLETED: 2006
SIZE: 427,000 sq. ft.
OWNERS: University of Chicago
ARCHITECT: Ellenzweig
AWARDS: 2007 IES New England Section Illumination Award
PHOTOGRAPHER: © Anton Grassl, © Bruce Van Inwegen

DESIGN TEAM:Paul Zaferiou
 Jennifer Pieszak

This lab building brings together biology, chemistry, and physics research labs, offices, and seminar rooms. Lighted ceiling planes extending outward articulate the building’s larger expression: a transparent, illuminated beacon on a campus axis, giving new life to the Science Quad within its urban neighborhood setting.

A three-story atrium is used as lounge, gathering, or presentation space. Three types of fixtures integrated into the wood ceiling respond to a range of programmatic needs and daylight conditions. Track fixtures tucked above the edges provide accent lighting for sculpture, and also wash the atrium’s side walls for added brightness on gloomy days. Incandescent pendants are easily accessible, dimmed to extend lamp life, and precisely coordinated with dramatic sightlines.

Stringent energy requirements were balanced with researchers’ request for 100 footcandles at lab benches. Perimeter lighting is zoned separately, allowing available daylight to filter through frosted glass marker boards.