UC Berkeley’s new Energy Bioscience Building is home to the Energy Biosciences Institute, a public-private partnership that develops solutions to global energy challenges. The five-story, $133 million biofuels research facility was designed by SmithGroupJJR to be LEED Gold, and exemplifies sustainable building technologies that also help to mitigate said challenges. This facility is a welcome addition to the UC Berkeley campus that will house the best and brightest researchers in biosciences for decades to come.
The SmithGroupJJR design team surveyed the building occupants and formulated a flexible plan to accommodate for laboratory and office spaces for a variety of uses. Advanced energy laboratories are stacked on the north side of the building, which faces Hearst Avenue. Each floor has a standardized plan that provides two eight-bay wet laboratories with support spaces. The building also houses laboratories for molecular and microbial biology, fermentation, and chemical separation. Offices are located on the south side of the building overlooking the new Berkeley Way plaza. Conference areas, kitchenettes, a lobby, and auditorium are among countless other programmatic elements.
The sustainable goals of the building work well in concert with the dedicated vision and mission of the department that calls this facility home. The design of the building includes a highly-insulated exterior cladding system, and a south and west glass curtain wall façade that introduces natural daylight deep into the office spaces of the building. The crystalline profile of the glass curtain wall façade also helps to give the building character.
The building is also home to a lot of laboratory equipment that can be an energy drain to the facility, but the designers managed to reduce energy use by almost 40 percent with careful planning and consideration the design of the Energy Bioscience Building. An exterior solar shading system helps to reduce the required energy needed for cooling as well.
All-in-all, this 113,000 square-foot research facility, constructed by contractor Rudolph & Sletten, brings together researchers, students and professors to collaborate in a growing and increasingly challenging field. Hopefully great work will come from this beautifully designed facility.