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December 1, 2015

Allen Institute opens Friday

Courtesy Vulcan Real Estate and Perkins + Will [enlarge]

The Allen Institute opens this week in a six-story, 270,000-square-foot building at 615 Westlake Ave. N.

The building has dry and wet labs, a data center, auditorium, collaborative work spaces, 9,000 square feet of retail and four levels of underground parking.

The new building allows the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Allen Institute for Cell Science to consolidate their operations and have room to grow, according to a press release from the developer, Vulcan Real Estate.

The release said the labs are “like flower petals around a large, light-filled central atrium.” Inside is “a beehive where researchers can see each other and what they are doing, making the space more collaborative, flexible and transparent.”

Vulcan incorporated parts of two historic buildings into the institute: the Ford McKay and Pacific McKay auto showrooms. When it was time to rebuild the Mercer corridor, Vulcan took those structures apart and stored the pieces for more than five years.

Crews created a “point-cloud scan” of the historic buildings with a laser before they were deconstructed, and used that to create a 3-D building information model for the reconstruction. The model laid out the new building's geometry and location in order to make the installation more accurate.

The Allen Institute has a number of preserved elements from the old buildings: original terra cotta facades; exterior granite; an interior marble base and tile fountain; decorative stairs; wood trim; a glazed arched entry transom; wood transom window frames and a terrazzo entry piece from the Ford McKay building.

The press release said 2,760 pieces of terra cotta and 966 decorative plaster elements were incorporated into the structure.

Perkins + Will is the architect and GLY Construction is the general contractor. Other team members are: BOLA Architecture + Planning, McKinstry, Pioneer Masonry Restoration Co., Performance Contracting, Legacy Renovation, North American Terrazzo and All New Glass.

The team is targeting LEED gold certification. Energy captured from the data center helps heat the building, and a rainwater cistern recycles water for landscaping.

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