Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

University of North Florida’s Innovative Advanced Biological Sciences Building Opens

April 2, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The University of North Florida’s (UNF) new Advanced Biological Sciences Building designed by award-winning international design firm Perkins+Will in a joint venture with Harvard Jolly opened on March 30(th), bringing a combination of architectural innovation, creativity, and environmentally conscious design to the UNF campus.

The 117,000-square-foot facility, which varies from two to four levels, houses all six specialized educational programs within the Department of Biology, including the Coastal Biology Flagship Program. Designed with an emphasis on energy conservation and to meet LEED Gold standards, it consists of 17 teaching labs and 28 faculty research labs, as well as state-of-the art classrooms, conference rooms, and lecture halls.

“Using the building as an educational tool, as well as a living machine, was a concept that represented the vision of Dr. Barbara Hetrick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNF. By understanding UNF’s needs and challenges, we were able to create an integrated building design that is a showcase of sustainable strategies,” said Pat Bosch, design director, Perkins+Will, Miami.

A wide range of architectural and design features distinguish the building from any other on campus. The interior courtyard, named Darwin’s Garden, is planted with species native to Florida and will be used as a botany lab. “A striking feature called the ‘Tree of Life’ is etched in the glass outside two sides of a first floor conference room. From there it travels up three stories and describes life on the planet organized according to DNA properties. The creation of the ‘Tree of Life’ was a collaborative effort with the Department of Biology Chair and the Director of the Coastal Biology Flagship Program, Dr. Courtney Hackney,” said Marlene Liriano, director of interiors, Perkins+Will, Miami. The building’s facade displays key words in pre-cast concrete from the school’s biological sciences mission statement, such as “research,” “teaching,” and “life,” and five green walls support flowering vines to provide natural shading to the building. The roof is topped with a state-of-the-art greenhouse.

“Throughout the project, we sought to integrate the building’s design with its high-tech educational mission,” said Jose Bofill, science+technology expert and market leader, Perkins+Will, Miami. “And as a biological sciences building, we placed great emphasis on creating an experience that gives its visitors and users a feeling of life itself.”

The building’s sustainable design features include a 30 percent reduction in water consumption, a 20 percent reduction in energy, lighting controls, and a maximum use of natural light. Occupancy sensors monitor indoor CO2 levels and regulate air quality throughout.

Six thousand gallons of saltwater, which is provided by and transported from the marine mammal park Marineland, is stored and available for aquatic research and teaching labs. All furniture in these labs is stainless steel to prevent rusting where saltwater is used. A unique necropsy lab allows dissection of large marine animals such as dolphins, sharks, and manatees, which can be up to ten feet long and weigh 2,000 pounds.

“With this new innovative biological sciences building, UNF’s geographic location, and the current areas of faculty expertise, the Coastal Biology Flagship Program is well on its way to becoming a center of excellence in the study of coastal ecosystems,” said University of North Florida President John Delaney.

The building design and construction materials complement the surrounding area, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences facility, which is situated next door. Landscaping around the building utilizes plants native to the area that were selected by the design and construction teams in collaboration with the University’s groundskeepers and biology staff.

About Perkins+Will
Established in 1935, Perkins+Will is a global multidisciplinary architecture and design firm founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance society. With a staff of 1,500 in 23 locations worldwide, the firm serves clients across a broad range of project types, grounding its work in deep research. Perkins+Will ranks among the world’s top design firms and is the recipient of hundreds of awards. Social responsibility is fundamental to the firm’s outlook, work, and culture, and every year Perkins+Will donates one percent of its design services to non-profit organizations. With pioneering tools to advance sustainable design practices, the largest green building portfolio in North America, more than 1,000 LEED® Accredited Professionals, and a commitment to the 2030 Challenge, Perkins+Will is recognized as one of the industry’s preeminent sustainable design firms. For more information, visit: www.perkinswill.com.

About The University of North Florida
At the University of North Florida, students are our first priority. UNF recognizes that every student is an individual, with different goals, learning styles and needs. Our students are provided opportunities for life-changing learning experiences, including internships, study abroad and other off-campus programs and dynamic research projects. We have an average enrollment of more than 16,000 students and offer five colleges of distinction: the Coggin College of Business, the Brooks College of Health, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the College of Education and Human Services.

Press Contact:
Lindsay Bubbico
Finn Partners for Perkins+Will

SOURCE Perkins+Will

Source: PR Newswire