Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
Submitted on July 24, 2012 - 11:30am
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lindsey Hoffman, Student, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Angela Pakes Ahlman, Project Manager, Capital Planning and Development; Facilities Planning and Management, University of Wisconsin - Madison
LEED Rating System(s)
LEED for New Construction
LEED Certification Level(s) Achieved
The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery is a world-class research facility that houses twin interdisciplinary institutes: the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and the public, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. With its mission to accelerate new knowledge and to improve human health and well-being, the research conducted in the facility focuses on disciplines such as biology, information technology, and engineering. This visionary building is designed to foster collaboration and ingenuity for all researchers and building occupants. The building includes interactive displays and civic spaces, as well as three teaching labs for educational programs, offices, research support areas, and core research facilities.
With collaboration between a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) board member, a Stanford trustee, and the philanthropist John Morgridge, an interdisciplinary biomedical research facility was brought to life. The idea arose for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and the need for a new, modern research facility on campus.
In choosing a contract type for the research facility, consideration was given to a fast track method of planning and construction. But the plan also needed to ensure collaboration for such a complex design, and address errors or liability that could arise from the complexity and speed of the project. Therefore, an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract approach was approved because it integrated ideas such as collaboration, optimization of project outcomes, coupling learning with action, increased relatedness, incorporation of networks and commitments, and reduction in project waste and inefficiency. After choosing the appropriate plan for how the facility would be constructed, planning and implementation could begin.
Project Goals and Objectives
There were many goals and objectives set for the creation of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building. These goals include:
Fostering interdisciplinary research collaboration. The floor plans of each of the four floors in the building were designed to include open space, a plethora of glass windows and walls, and two community kitchen spaces in the center of each floor. These qualities were included in the design to foster a sense of community, visibility, and collaboration.
Creating a vibrant town center. The town center is located on the first floor of the facility and was designed to welcome the public with food, interactive displays, ongoing activities, hands-on learning labs, events and meeting spaces. It includes public gathering spaces and restaurants designed to revitalize the streets around the facility and enrich the campus environment.
Integrating a teaching and research community. The facility offers teaching labs on the second, third and fourth floors of the building that host educational programs and classes for k-12 students, students and faculty, and community members. In addition, two of the three embedded teaching labs are wet labs equipped for physical science experimentation including chemistry, engineering, biology, and microbiology experiments. The other teaching lab includes a desktop computation style lab. These three labs can be electronically linked to all floors so one teacher can teach to people in every lab simultaneously.
Ensuring sustainable design. The project’s leaders and architects were seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council to ensure the institutes meet the highest standards for environmental responsibility and occupational health. Quantitative goals for reducing water usage and carbon emission for the building include a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 50% reduction in water use from the average research facility on campus.
One hundred year building lifespan – The facility design team wanted the building to last one hundred years to accommodate technology changes and advances in the future as well as reduce maintenance and reconstruction costs for the future.
The implementation process of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery was very efficient and organized. In the beginning phases of the process starting in 2006, during the design phase of the building, planners held more than twelve focus groups, meetings and informal discussions involving hundreds of people. These participatory events were planned to ensure that the building design process was inspired and educated by the knowledge of faculty and staff from across the UW–Madison campus, as well as local community and business leaders.
In the fall of 2007, UW–Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation hosted a series of campus town hall meetings to inform the university and Madison community about the building plans for the twin institutes. At these meetings attendees learned about the facility’s public and retail venues; wet and dry labs; educational outreach space; and social areas to encourage collaboration. They also viewed architectural models and artists’ renderings of the plans.
After the planning and design of the building were nearly completed, the team had to prepare the building for construction. In order to do this, eight surrounding buildings needed to be razed and removed. The Madison-based environmental contractor, Champion Environmental Services Inc., began work on demolishing those buildings. Soon after, Terra Construction Co. began excavation of the site.
During this process, the construction team recycled and reused 98 percent of the materials that made up the former block. This surpasses its original goal of 85 percent for material reuse.
Throughout the entire construction process, an Integrated Project Agreement (IPA) contract was used. This contract was used to ensure collaboration and collectivity between all parties involved, as well as a fast planning and construction process with minimal waste.
The project took a little less than 7 years from the time when the first idea and planning process began, to the time of the grand opening of the building. A list of key milestones is as follows:
January 2004: Building planning began
November 2004: The governor of Wisconsin proposed a $50 Million interdisciplinary biomedical research facility at UW-Madison, naming it the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
2005: A WARF member, Stanford trustee, and John Morgridge proposed a model for interdisciplinary research to the WARF managing director and board of trustees.
January 2006: Building planning completed
February 2006: WARF adopts the written proposal and approves a $50 million donation.
April 2006: WARF names its project manager.
September 2006: Architects /Engineers were selected
November 2006: Building programming began. This marked the beginning of the concept programming phase with benchmarking and surrogate groups.
February 2007: The first meeting between the owner, architect, CM/GC core team occurred.
April 2007: Building programming completed and WARF approves the concept. The Morgridge Institutes Board also approved supplementary sustainably features.
April 2007: 10% of the concept report was drafted
September 2007: 10% of the concept report was completed
September 2007: 35% of the design report was drafted
December 2007: Site was rezoned.
February 2008: Construction documents begin being processed. These include demolition permit and bidding permit.
March 2008: 35% of the design report was completed
April 2008: Construction began
August 2008: Construction documents completed
February 2009: End of bidding
May 2009: First phase of the construction process was completed; the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building was "topped out," signaling the end of vertical construction.
November 2009: Building was enclosed
October 2010: Construction completed
October 2010: Substantial completion of the building
December 2010: Grand opening and occupancy of the building.
The total cost for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building amounts to $210,000,000. The total project cost was $610 per gross square foot.
The estimated breakdown of the total cost is as follows:
Construction: $176,413,000 ($538 per gross square foot)
Architect / engineer and other fees: $13,500,000
Furniture, fixtures, and equipment: $5,125,000
Percent for Art: $125,000
Hazardous Material: $337,000
The funding for the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery came from three different sources:
- John and Tashia Morgridge, two alumni of the University of Wisconsin and generous donors to the University donated $50,000,000 to create the facility.
- The State of Wisconsin matched this donation with another $50,000,000 donated.
- WARF then contributed another $110,000,000 to help fund the project.
Project Results and Realized Benefits
With the certain construction contract that was used (IPD), the building was completed a year ahead of what it otherwise would have taken if a more conventional contract was used. The contract involved overlap and compressions of smaller projects in order to save time and finish the final project at such speed.
During the planning and construction process, many processes contributed to great money savings that were reinvested into different parts of the project. Many of the savings came from the removal of sub contractors’ hard-bid contingencies, the precisions of target value design, and unused safety-net contingencies. This saved money was reinvested into the project to create/enhance the following:
- lab-fit out for all researchers
- expansion of size and capacity of lower level server farms
- sustainable initiatives such as an earth heat exchange system, a solar generation of hot water, LED lights, and intelligent building architecture system approach
- town center enhancements such as media displays and a telepresence room
- fitout for 3 food venues
- radio frequency identification system for research project asset management
Other results include:
- Energy savings of 68% over the baseline building
- Water reduction of 78% less than the baseline building
- Sky lighting was increased by 12% of the gross roof area
- 88% of the construction waste from the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery was recycled
Innovation in Practice
Building as a Teaching Tool and Community Involvement:
What makes the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery so different from other research facilities is its focus on education and community involvement. The building has three embedded teaching labs for k-12 students, university students and faculty, and community members. There are two wet labs that include scientific materials and lab space, as well as one dry lab that consists of computers and meeting space. The building also has an expansive main floor that is open and inviting to the public. On the main floor there are multiple conference rooms and office space, open study space, interactive displays, and community events. Saturday Science is an event hosted by WARF, on the first Saturday of every month in the town center. Saturday science is an event that invites community members in to learn about different, exciting science themes and become interested in what makes science so interesting. Saturday science is geared toward young kids who want to “get their hands dirty”, learn, and have fun. Examples of Saturday science themes include, The Science of Gross and The Physics of Break Dancing.
The type of contract for planning and construction is not a very common type of contract to use. It focuses on collaboration, communication between counterparts, reduction in waste, optimization of resources, and speed. It is a very wise contract to implement, but is not as widely understood. An IPD consultant was hired to help organize the structure of the project contract and make sure everyone was fully aware of the process. In the end this IPD contract led to a successful facility that was completed a year ahead of schedule, that far exceeding most sustainable goals.
As a LEED Gold certified building, many innovative green design aspects are involved in the operations of the facility. These green aspects include:
- A white roof having a solar radiation index of 104 reduces absorbed radiation and heat by reflecting solar radiation
- Exterior fins (vertical sun louvers) along the south elevation provide shade when sun is at its highest point, reducing solar heat gain
- Water conservation fixtures like low-flow urinals, dual-flush toilets, low-flow lavatory faucets and low-flow shower heads maximize water efficiency
- Reuse of grey water for low-flush or low-flow fixtures
- Solar hot water heaters harness solar energy for domestic and laboratory use
- Exterior shading devices such as overhangs, window fins and baguettes to reduce heat absorbed in the summer months
- A geothermal heat pump operates whenever the outside air is below 50° F. Providing heat from the Earth, the geothermal water loop varies between 60°F and 80°F year around.
- Atrium thermodynamics
- HVAC Systems produce reduced air exchange rates, geothermal well heat exchange and convert waste energy from steam pressure reducing valve to electricity
- Low-VOC adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings were applied inside the building
- Active chilled beams provide the occupants with 100% fresh air
- A no smoking policy around building protects indoor air quality
- Before occupancy, a building flush out was used to ensure the majority of pollutant emissions from the building materials, furnishings and finishes were removed.
- Low ambient lighting at non-lab areas
- Lighting controls for daylight harvesting
- Approximately 70% of the building is lab and lab office/support space that is served with 100% outside air. The remaining 30% of the building is administration and common use spaces that is served with supply/return air systems with minimum outdoor air quantities.
- Exemplarily performance in available buses in the vicinity of the project totaling 1618 transit rides from 12 different stops within a quarter mile from the building
- Building control and automation monitor and record the energy and water usage in the building. Use of water and energy is tracked for lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, equipment, and plug load for the building and individual lab.
- Building flush-out removed harmful gaseous chemicals which accumulate during the construction process.
- Geothermal energy is harvested through 75 boreholes which are approximately 300 ft deep each. Geothermal energy is a heat exchanger which brings in cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter. Using geothermal energy provides 10% energy savings in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.
Project as a Model for Others
-Since the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery involves a partnership between the public and private sector, a new and fresh perspective was needed for the design and construction delivery processes. Even though the public/private partnership is specific to the University of Wisconsin campus, other schools can integrate these ideas into their model as well and use the IPD contract to further efficiency.
Create flexible and changeable research space. The research space in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building is open to changes in space use. In order to accommodate changes that occur in the future, there are portable offices set up, spaces available for unidentified occupants, and a large open spaces designed on the second and third floors of the building. This allows for changes in research and structure to take place, as well as helps support the building’s goal of being usable for 100 years.
Sustainability targets are high. Goals and standards for this facility are set higher than average because with higher goals, the teams will work harder to be more innovative and increase efficiency. Small goals lead to small results, but when goals are set high there is much more of a return.
Emphasis on creating great collaborative social spaces. The open spaces and shared kitchens on each floor, along with abundant windows for visibility between floors and for sunlight are all aspects that help foster relationships between occupants, and make the facility an enjoyable place to work. With more visibility and a positive atmosphere in the office and research space, occupants are more likely to collaborate.
There were multiple lessons learned from the process of creating the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building.
1) Since this was the first time many of the parties involved had worked with an IPD contract, it would have been a great idea to hire an IPD consultant from the inception of the project. With parties from the private and public sector working together on the project, a facilitator of some sort would have been a great help to initiate collaboration and alleviate any discrepancies with an unfamiliar process. It is very important to involve someone in the process who is knowledgeable about the type of contract being used and who is experienced with working with people in a similar situation. A more experienced team member or outside consultant will be able to facilitate the process very fluidly and serve as a valuable leader.
2) It is extremely important to get all concerns, preconceptions, and expectations out in the open immediately. Many team members will have concerns and questions in the beginning of the process and if those concerns are not resolved or questions answered, there could be a continued feeling of ambiguity and weariness within the project team. Also, if expectations and preconceptions are discussed early on in the project timeline, disappointment and resentment caused by unmet expectations are less likely to arise. In addition, these issues are likely to surface anyway, and an early forum for expression of opinions and concerns can decrease disappointments and resentments.
3) Another lesson learned from this project is to incentivize more project participants more frequently. This can be done in many ways, but a few in particular stand out. The Integrated Project Agreement (IPA) initially only involved the owner, architects, and CM/GC team. Later into the project, 6 teams including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and 3 enclosure contractors were asked join in on the IPA contract. This caused some information gaps within the project members and prevented collaboration between different parties from excelling. If the extra 6 teams had been a part of the IPA from project inception it would have furthered collaboration and integrated behavior.
4) Increase personal contact. It is very important that project teams and groups are in constant communication with each other. Many projects use web-based tools and e-presentations as a source of information and flow, and although this is a very useful and convenient method of communication, it often reduces immediacy and causes lag time for the information.