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Purdue Biomedical Engineering Building

Award of Merit: Research

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., needed a freestanding building for its rapidly growing biomedical engineering school.


The 91,400-sq.-ft. Purdue Biomedical Engineering Building brings together the existing graduate and faculty research programs that were previously scattered around campus and combines them with a new undergraduate program in one location.

Located on a new site in Purdue's Discovery Park, the four-level building acts as a gateway to the campus development. The facility is a link between the existing academic campus and the new research campus.

A New Program

The facility was designed as the new undergraduate program was being developed, and the design process paralleled the curriculum development of the new program.

Rather than putting the established program in the hands of designers, the process involved the design team and faculty developing the facility and curriculum at the same time.

The field of biomedical engineering involves creating new procedures and devices for the medical field.

As curriculum evolves and students and faculty develop their projects, the design allows for flexible spatial arrangements, easy technology change-outs and adaptable building systems. Research labs are modular and allow for varied assignments and uses over time.

An interior streetscape is a key to the design. The building is molded around paths of movement that organize its components around a central spine-a three-story space that encourages connections between students, faculty and researchers.

Primary teaching areas are knit together into neighborhoods connected by diverse spaces that are extensions of classes and labs. Classrooms, specialized teaching and research laboratories, team-based project rooms, counseling areas and interaction spaces all create environments that encourage integration of people, activities and ideas.

Ample windows provide natural lighting and visually connect the building to Discovery Park.

Jury Comments: "The Purdue project is nice. It doesn't seem like a typical classroom building. It's a clean building."

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