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
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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