The A. Alfred Taubman Engineering, Architecture, and Life Sciences Complex is a new 36,700 SF academic laboratory building for Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan, that provides advanced facilities for robotics engineering, biomedical engineering, life sciences and related programs. The design of the building evolved around opportunities to enhance connectivity at multiple scales – between the school’s various engineering and design disciplines, previously housed in separate buildings, as well as within existing and future regions of the campus.
▼建筑外观，中间黑色的卵形连接建筑两翼，external view of the building, the two wings are connected by the black orb in the center
The Taubman Complex is among the first buildings constructed in LTU’s major expansion and renovation effort, which will add new campus regions, buildings, and amenities to serve the university’s growing student population. To support this effort, the Complex is designed as an “extrudable section: ”an occupiable bar that can be extended in phases to accommodate growth while maintaining the function and design integrity of the building. The spine of the bar is formed by two floors of laboratories, which look out into an open flex space that runs the length of the building. This flex space is the collaborative heart of the Taubman Complex, providing an expansive and re-configurable hall for informal discussions, pin-up critique sessions, and lectures. Clerestory glazing fills the flex space with light diffused through an ETFE (ethylene tetra fluoro ethylene) scrim along the east and west facades; in the evening, this scrim becomes illuminated by back lighting.
▼长条形的建筑可以向外扩建，夜晚立面的帘被背光照亮，形成柔和的灯光效果，the bar could be extended, the scrim along the facade creates gentle inllumination during night
▼建筑内流动的公共空间，不同区域之间可以产生视觉联系，the flex space in the building, creating visual connections between different place
Beyond adding flexible collaborative spaces and laboratory facilities, opportunities were identified to use the form of the building to establish a new axis for the school that would enhance links between existing buildings and act as a bridge to future regions of the campus. The bridge-like form of the building defines the periphery of the campus and enhances the presence and view of the University from the adjacent major roadway. The Complex is linked to neighboring buildings by lifted bridges, framing a new grand entrance and gateway to the University. Breaching the linear form of the building, a carbon- fiber circulation “orb” contains the main staircase and marks entry to the building, while creating a focal point for the University quad.
▼综合楼形成新轴线，连接校园的不同区域，the building connects existing buildings and the future regions，creating a new axis for the campus
底特律是美国工程技术创新的中心，而负责项目工程设计的Albert Kahn建筑事务所在此方面颇有心得。一个世纪以前，Albert Kahn和他的兄弟Julius发明了一套革命性的结构系统，并将其运用到当时最先新的福特汽车工厂的建造中。通过使用重复的结构肋和长窗，建筑师创造了一个阳光充足的大跨度空间，且空间的大小可以根据使用需求无限扩张。Taubman综合楼便利用了这项技术，为LUT内的不同学科提供了可变的实验设施。建筑的使用空间可以不断扩展，满足学校长远发展的需求。
The precedent for a light-filled, extendable building design is rooted in the history of our teaming Executive Architect- Engineering firm, Albert Kahn Associates, and of Detroit as the center for American innovation in engineering. Albert Kahn was the primary architect for an emerging automobile industry; his commissions included numerous state-of-the-art factories for Henry Ford, which employed a revolutionary structural system engineered by Kahn and his brother Julius to allow for the creation of open span, brightly lit assembly floors. The success of these buildings depended on a repeated system of structural ribs and clerestory windows – an efficient, modular formula that could be expanded and extended to whatever size necessary to accommodate the program within. A century later, Kahn’s innovations are revived in a new expansion for Lawrence Technological University designed to offer flexible laboratory facilities for evolving research and disciplines.
The even distribution of compression and tension loads necessary to maintain the integrity of a dome-shaped structure was discovered in architecture thousands of years ago. This same theory is key to the design of the carbon fiber-enclosed stairwell at the Taubman Complex, for Lawrence Technological University. The recently-completed learning laboratory building unites multiple science and technology disciplines along two wings; at the intersection of the two wings is a three- story enclosed stairwell taking the shape of an egg-like “orb,” which floats above a reflecting pool. The orb is capped at both ends by circular skylights that allow sunlight to stream through the translucent floors of the stairwell and cast reflections off of the water below.
▼黑色的卵形成为建筑的焦点，the black orb becomes focus point of the building
▼卵的下方为一个水池，人们以此作为碰头地点，reflecting pool under the orb, creating a meet-up place
The integration of unique forms and the development of new materials and fabrication methods is not uncommon in work designed and engineered by the A/E team of Morphosis-Albert Kahn Associates. Underscoring the Taubman Complex’s mission to serve as an incubator for science-learning and experimentation, the orb is sheathed in a black matte-finished carbon fiber composite that is innovative in both its formulation and application. Typically encountered in architecture as an add-on non-structural material, the carbon fiber panels for the Taubman Complex were instead specifically formulated to simultaneously serve structural, performance, and aesthetic functions – a material application that could dramatically change the future use of composites in architectural design.
▼卵的顶部为圆形天窗，楼梯悬挑于其中，光充满了整个楼梯井，sunlight comes in from the circular skylight, going through the cantilevered stairs
Kahn事务所擅于将建筑和工程结合起来，在极端条件下设计解决方案。由于这种碳纤维材料是第一次在建筑中应用，公司对材料性能进行了严格的测试，包括拉，压，弯曲等力学性能测试，并且对材料的抗风性，耐候性，耐火性和结构强度进行了研究，确保其能满足建造的需求。卵形结构的构造和足球相似，碳纤维被制成楔形连在一起，使卵的结构与内部的悬挑楼梯成为了一个整体。项目总负责人Alan Cobb, FAIA表示：“这个项目打开了新型碳纤维材料在相似建筑中应用的前景，我们已经准备好去创造新的可能性。”
Kahn, the Architect and Engineer of Record, has a reputation for designing for extreme conditions, and enthusiastically embraced the design of the 44 foot-high compound curved structure and the opportunity to merge architecture and engineering solutions. The firm oversaw a rigorous testing and material manufacturing process to achieve this first-of-its-kind carbon fiber composite formulation and application. The material was tested for mechanical properties, including tensile, compressive and flexural strength. The rigorous testing included critical wind loading to meet large margins of safety, tests to withstand temperature and curing scenarios, stringent fire ratings and structural requirements. The carbon fiber is layered in wedge shapes, similar to a football, which allows the orb to maintain structural integrity as it integrates with the cantilevered stair. Alan Cobb, FAIA Executive Architect for the project claims, “The future is now wide open to use the product in similar architectural applications and our team is ready to create new possibilities!”
▼一层平面图，first floor plan
▼二层平面图，second floor plan
▼三层平面图，third floor plan
Location: South eld, Michigan, USA
Client: Lawrence Technological University
Size: 36,700 SF
Area: 3.24 acres / 1.31 hectares
Program: Flex studio spaces, of ces, and academic laboratories including: Cell Culture Laboratory, Biomaterials/Histology Laboratory, Biosensors Laboratory, Bioinstrumentation Laboratory, Microfabrication Laboratory (Class 1000 Cleanroom), Biomedical Microelectromechanical Systems (BioMEMS) Laboratory, Computer Science Robotics Laboratory, Experimental Biomechanics Laboratory, Embedded Software Engineering Laboratory
Design: 2012 – 2014
Construction: 2014 – 2016
Design Architect: Morphosis Architects
Project Principal: Brandon Welling
Project Prchitect: Aleksander Tamm-Seitz
Project Team: Chris Eskew, Michael Nesbit Atsushi Sugiuchi
Advanced Technology: Cory Brugger
Project Assistants: Natalie Abbott, Carmelia Chiang Sam Clovis, Tom Day, Ryan Docken Bart Gillespie, Mauricio Gomez Parham Hakimi, Jonathan Kaminsky Hunter Knight, Sarah Kott, Katie MacDonald, Nicole Meyer Derrick Whitmire, Pablo Zunzunegui
Visualization: Jasmine Park, Nathan Skrepcinski, Sam Tannenbaum
Richard Whedon, RA
Executive Architect / Engineer of Record: Albert Kahn Associates (Kahn)
Principal in Charge: Alan H. Cobb, FAIA
Project Manager: Rechard Whedon, RA
Project Design and Laboratory Planning: Michael Giovanni, AIA, Megan, Martin-Campbell
Project Architect: Robert Hubbard, AIA Ken Herbart, AIA
Structural Engineer (Kahn): Gregory Gertsen, PE Gary Collins, PE
Project Mechanical Engineer (Kahn): John Cole, PE Scott Kemp, PE Oscar Cobb
Project Electrical Engineer (Kahn): Kevin Jones
Project IT Engineer (Kahn): William Howerth
Project Interior Design (Kahn): Chris Trupiano, ASID Tania Swider
Landscape Architect (Kahn): Stephen White, ASLA, Riccardo Pappeni, ASLA
Project Assistants (Kahn): Joyce Vander Weide, PE, Jeff Gaines, AIA, Brian Eady, Chapin Cornillaud, Breanne May, Robert Vander Weiff, PE
Civil: Professional Engineering Association
Cost Estimator: Kirk Value Planners
Geotechnical: The Mannick & Smith Group, Inc.
Image Credit: All photography by Nic Lehoux
Drawings: Morphosis Architects
English text: Morphosis Architects
Chinese text: gooood