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May 2, 2023
Seattle-based LMN Architects is continuing to expand its portfolio in higher education. Not long after revealing designs for a new building at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the firm is sharing designs for an interdisciplinary research facility currently under construction some 250 miles away at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
That facility is called the Computer, Data & Information Sciences building and is expected to open in 2025. When it does, it will be seven stories with 342,990 square feet that will serve as a new combined home for the departments of Computer Science, Statistics, and the Information School.
By co-locating these programs within one building the project is intending to establish a new tech corridor on campus, and in the state of Wisconsin, and a new hub for collaboration across campus and with the wider community.
LMN has designed the facility in collaboration with Milwaukee-based architect Kahler Slater. The programmatic layout consists of student spaces, classrooms, offices, dry labs, terraces, a courtyard, and support spaces. Support spaces are geared towards student, faculty, and staff wellbeing and include a multipurpose wellness room, nursing parents' rooms, and plentiful informal social spaces.
In a press release, LMN said the project's architecture has been organized to enable three key ecosystems to flourish together — a research ecosystem, a learning ecosystem, and a student ecosystem. The design is also intended to facilitate intellectual collisions with active learning classrooms, thematic hubs and research spaces that will foster cross-disciplinary collaboration while also giving users the flexibility to arrange spaces as the university's needs change. A light-filled atrium, accented with wood, is sited at the heart of the building to provide a warm and welcoming space for academic collaboration and camaraderie.
Visually, LMN says the project has been “designed to commemorate the state of Wisconsin by weaving the state's natural and cultural history into the expression of the building.” The project has a largely neutral color palette that will reflect and compliment the campus's dynamic seasonal conditions as they evolve. Madison's outdoor landscape is also brought into the building's design via landscaped terraces, located on the third and seventh floors, a living wall, and planters filled with greenery placed throughout the building. The exterior facade will be constructed of precast panels of high-performance concrete with a texture that emulates drumlins close-up, and regional woven textiles from afar.
The building is also designed to be the most sustainable structure on the campus. It is targeting LEED Platinum and will have green roofs with planted areas covering 25.8% of the site area, rainwater capture and reuse for indoor flush fixtures and all exterior irrigation, triple paned bird-friendly glazing, high performance envelope design, a rooftop photovoltaic array, and night purge ventilation.
LMN Architects has designed over 150 projects on 51 campuses in the United States. Closer to home, one of the firm's latest projects, a new upper school building for the Seattle Academy of Arts & Sciences at its campus on Capitol Hill, is expected to break ground this year. That project is five-stories and 85,000 square feet. A master use permit was issued in March. Demolition and construction permits are pending.