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March 2, 2006

BioDesign Institute at ASU named Lab of the Year in International Competition

TEMPE, Ariz.—The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has been named 2006 Laboratory of the Year by R&D Magazine. The award recognizes innovative laboratory design that creates a superior working environment and supports research excellence. The annual competition includes industrial, government and academic laboratories across the U.S. and abroad.

Considered the leading international design competition for research laboratories, the R&D Magazine Laboratory of the Year award is presented for new laboratory construction completed during the prior year. Winning projects must be laboratories where the research performed is enhanced by the facility surroundings, where the tenants work in a safe and productive environment, where walking into the facility is an uplifting experience, and where the facility enhances the client's ability to recruit top researchers.

“The design of the Biodesign Institute exemplifies the lab of the future, able to respond to the demands and opportunities of a changing world,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Like today’s American university, these laboratories must be dynamic.”

George Poste, director of the Biodesign Institute and R&D Magazine’s 2004 Scientist of the Year said, “We are especially proud of this award because it speaks to the quality of ASU’s new research facilities and its role in enhancing Arizona’s competitiveness in the biosciences.”

The Biodesign Institute headed up a strong field in this year’s competition, said Tim Studt, Editor-in-Chief of R&D Magazine.

“The vote for the Biodesign Institute as Laboratory of the Year was unanimous on the first round, which happens only rarely,” said Studt. “The other laboratories that were entered were very good in their own right, but the Biodesign Institute was just an overwhelmingly strong candidate.”

ASU’s Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building II was also recognized by R&D Magazine, receiving a “High Honors” designation. “These two structures go beyond the simple equation of adding bricks and mortar,” said Crow. “By creating research facilities that enhance intellectual fusion, we are attracting world-class talent to ASU and will accelerate discoveries that address some of the most pressing challenges to human health and society.”

The Biodesign Institute is Arizona’s largest single investment in research infrastructure. It is master- planned as four interconnected buildings that can be constructed in phases. The first two buildings are complete, comprising 350,000 square feet. The facility design was a collaboration between the Atlanta office of Lord, Aeck & Sargent Architecture and the Phoenix office of Gould Evans. The general contractors were Sundt Construction, Inc./DPR Construction, Inc., A Joint Venture.

“I believe a key to our success was engaging the Biodesign Institute’s researchers in planning the lab space,” said Larry Lord, FAIA, Lord, Aeck & Sargent principal and director of the firm’s Science Studio. “The Institute’s approach to bioscience research is groundbreaking, so the design also needed to break new ground. We relied heavily on one another, and explored some new directions that have really worked well,” he said.

One of the innovative aspects of the facility design is a central atrium that is the spine of the facility, stretching 448 ft. down the length of the Institute—about the length of one-and-a-half football fields— which allows natural light to flow into all four levels of the facility.

“The idea of the atrium was bold for a university, where space is at a premium,” said Barbara Hendricks, project manager, Gould Evans. “But it was championed by the Institute’s associate director, Michael Mobley, based on their goal of creating collaboration and a heightened sense of community. It has exceeded expectations, becoming a key gathering space for the researchers and offering spectacular lines of sight throughout the facility that are extremely energizing,” Hendricks said.

Transparency and open space are hallmarks of the Institute. Though it houses a dozen separate research centers, there are few walls between the labs, and an extensive use of glass creates a visual connection between the labs, offices and atrium. The lab benches are on wheels, with all utilities and data lines accessed through the ceilings. This enables maximum “plug and play” flexibility. Some distinct features of the labs include special construction techniques to reduce vibration and electromagnetic interference that could negatively impact sensitive equipment settings.

Specific judging criteria for the awards include site plans; traffic flow; flow of materials; plant operation; aesthetics; working conditions; suitability for type of research performed; lab design; office design/location; furnishings; study and meeting facilities; opportunities for collaboration and idea exchange; energy efficiency; cost to build; and cost to operate. Criteria considered essential include safety for lab and office personnel, hazard control, and access for people with disabilities.

R&D Magazine is distributed to more than 80,000 scientists and engineers in industrial, academic and government research and development. The awards are also supported by SEFA, the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association.

Images of the Biodesign Institute at ASU are downloadable at: Please use photo credit: ©Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

About the Biodesign Institute at ASU

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University fuses research in biology, medicine, engineering, nanotechnology and computing to cure and prevent disease, overcome the limitations of injury, sustain the environment, and support national security. In cooperation with partners in health care, government, academia and industry, it ensures discoveries and technological advances are rapidly translated to benefit society. For information, visit or call (480) 727-8322.

About Lord, Aeck & Sargent

Lord, Aeck & Sargent is an award-winning architectural firm serving clients in scientific, academic, historic preservation, arts and cultural, and multi-family housing and mixed-use markets. The firm has been recognized by R&D Magazine’s Laboratory of the Year competition four times: receiving the Laboratory of the Year Award for its design of The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (in collaboration with Gould Evans) and the Georgia Public Health Laboratory, as well as High Honors for the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and Special Mention for the Georgia Institute of Technology Manufacturing Research Center. Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s core values are responsive design, technological expertise and exceptional service. The firm has offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For more information, visit

About Gould Evans

Gould Evans is a multi-faceted design firm, providing architecture, planning, graphic and interior design to a range of public and private clients. Since the firm's founding in 1974, Gould Evans has grown to more than 200 professionals in eight offices. The Phoenix office, formed in 1996, has grown to a staff of 40 and emerged with an award-winning portfolio of projects, 85% repeat client ratio, and reputation for unique, fresh design solutions. We believe in the power of superior design, but more importantly, we believe in the power of the collaborative process. For more information, visit

About Sundt Construction, Inc.

Tempe-based Sundt Construction, Inc., is one of the 100 largest construction companies in the United States. The employee-owned company builds projects for both public and private clients, including buildings of many types; roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects; and projects to support national defense initiatives such as military family housing and a variety of operational facilities. For more information visit

About DPR Construction, Inc.

DPR Construction, Inc., a forward-thinking national general contractor and construction manager, consistently ranks in the top five percent of general contractors in the country in its four core markets of advanced technology, biopharmaceutical, corporate office and healthcare. Completing more than $2 billion worth of biopharmaceutical projects, DPR is the sixth largest laboratory, research and biopharmaceutical builder in the nation. The firm’s 130-person Arizona office has been “building great things” since 1994 and, with more than $112 million worth of work underway, is ranked one of the largest general contractors in Arizona. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:

The Biodesign Institute at ASU:
Kimberly Ovitt (480) 727-8688

Lord, Aeck & Sargent
Ann Kohut, Kohut Communications Consulting (770) 913-9747

Gould Evans
Kira Gould (617) 867-0032

DPR Construction, Inc.
Pamela Maydanis (602) 808-0500

Sundt Construction, Inc.
Richard Parker (480) 293-3000