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UA Optics, U-M Biomed Buildings Among AIA Awardees

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2007 -- The Meinel Optical Sciences building at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson and the University of Michigan Biomedical Science Research Building in Ann Arbor are among 11 projects selected to receive 2007 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Schools and educational facilities made a remarkably strong showing, the AIA said, receiving 8 of the 11 awards. Other recipients include a memorial for European Jews and two single-family residences. The projects are located throughout the US, with one in Berlin and another in Toronto.

The Meinel Optical Sciences building is home to the College of Optical Sciences’ research and educational programs in optics. The 47,000-square-foot research lab is both an expansion and renovation of the university’s optical department and contains teaching and research labs, classrooms, interaction areas and offices; the project was a team effort among Optical Sciences, UA’s Facilities Design and Construction Department, Lloyd Construction and Richard+Bauer Architects of Phoenix (partners James Richärd, Kelly Bauer and Stephen Kennedy are all UA graduates).uarizbuilding.jpg

The Meinel Optical Sciences building at the University of Arizona. Photos: (left)  courtesy AIA, copyright © Bill Timmerman; (below) courtesy University of Arizona, James C. Wyant
The UA building was envisioned as an abstraction of a darkroom, the AIA said. "Within the simple volume, daylight is introduced by a series of apertures, interacting and modulating the spaces within."

It is organized around “blind” and “seeing” spaces, with light-sensitive research functions organized along the southern side and windowed office and support spaces open to natural light along the northern side. The jury called the project “immensely powerful” and appreciated that the “living wall changes throughout the day as the soft folds cast slightly different shadows, animating life at different levels."

The College of Optical Sciences will host a dedication celebration on Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. on the University of Arizona Mall at the intersection of University Boulevard and Cherry Ave. The celebration will be followed by an open house from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Both the dedication and the open house are open to the public.

The 435,000-square-foot Biomedical Science Research Building at University of Michigan (U-M) provides 250 biomolecular research labs for the university’s 1000 users. Designed by Polshek Partnership Architects LLP of New York, the building forms a connection between the main campus and the medical school and serves as the medical school’s "new front door," the AIA said. "The atrium is a centralized space where the researchers and students can interact.
Biomedical Science Research Building at University of Michigan (Photo courtesy AIA. Copyright © Jeff Goldberg/Esto)
"The offices provide an organic foil to the rectilinear nature of the laboratories through the introduction of a double glass curtain wall that also assists in environmental controls," the AIA said. "The curved ribbon wall achieves maximum daylighting and view, better thermal comfort and energy performance and better acoustical separation from the street. The jury called this 'a very difficult, large building type that is executed beautifully. It’s a breath of fresh air and the best we’ve seen in this building type.'”

The awards are the architecture profession’s highest recognition of works in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from nearly 700 total submissions, 29 recipients will be honored in May at the AIA 2007 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Antonio.

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Feb 2007
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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