Beyond its Boundary - Developing a Prototype Facility for Specialized Research

Austin Bailey, Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC
Fred Tepfer, University of Oregon, Campus Planning and Real Estate

One of the present challenges for the design and construction of specialized research facilities is freeing them from the constraints of their physical boundaries to facilitate capacity, efficiency, and influence that defy the limits of the basic program. Pressure to accommodate these facilities within existing building stock is increasing. The physical constraints of these facilities, especially for renovations, can be severely restrictive. Through the exploration of a recent renovation and expansion project for the Core Aquatic Research Facility at the University of Oregon, this session will demonstrate how to successfully transform the physical constraints of such projects into attributes and opportunities through the use of collaborative planning, integrated design and innovation.

Collaborative Planning- In 2010, the University of Oregon received one of the highly coveted C06 grants through the National Institutes of Health to renovate and expand its Core Aquatic Research Facility. The $11 million renovation and expansion project proposed tripling its current capacity within only a 200% increase in area. The recently completed facility serves as an international prototype for aquatic research facility design. From the outset, the project was mandated to provide continuous on-site support of the animal population throughout construction. Yet the project was to replace all major building systems serving the facility, including the aquatic life support. Through a collaborative effort among the design team, owner and contractor, an intensive phasing plan was developed to juggle construction and operational area throughout the construction period. The facility design itself utilized specific operational zoning to capitalize on existing infrastructure to allow critical program shifts throughout construction.

Integrated Design and Innovation- Integrated Design principles and Building Information Modeling were employed to help facilitate construction phasing and incorporate the design into the tight constraints of the existing building infrastructure. These tools, coupled with a view to the broader context of the building and overall science complex, presented several unique opportunities. Through the use of both district and satellite-based centralized systems, the project was able to increase energy efficiency by almost 50% below the baseline, provide graywater capacity to fully support an adjacent 100,000 sf research building, and centralize purified lab water production for the entire science complex. Critical groundwork was laid for future system upgrades including VAV HVAC conversion, potable water piping replacement and lab water separation. The project is on track for LEED Gold certification.


Austin Bailey is a Project Architect and Laboratory Design Consultant for Rowell Brokaw Architects. He leads the firm's laboratory design work with a focus towards sustainable design and efficient renovation and retrofit. He is a LEED Accredited Professional with specialty in Building Design and Construction and has shepherded projects to both LEED Gold and Platinum certification levels. Formerly one the original faculty at the Zebrafish International Resource Center, he helped the facility grow to become a world renowned resource during his tenure. He is a nationally regarded expert on aquatic research facility design and is currently drafting the architecture and planning sections for Aquatic Research Facilities for the revised Design Requirements for Biomedical Research Facilities published by National Institutes of Health.

Fred Tepfer is the Project Planning Manager for the University of Oregon's Campus Planning and Real Estate office. He has worked at the University of Oregon since 1984 as a facilities planner, lab planner, transportation planner, campus planner, and licensed architect. Recent projects include the Core Aquatic Research Facility, the Lewis Integrative Science Building (chemistry synthesis labs, bio-sciences labs, vivarium), and the Lorry Lokey Laboratories. The Lewis Integrative Science Building is currently on track for LEED Platinum certification. Fred's guidance has helped the university break new ground on creative approaches for fostering interaction, reducing energy use, and integrating functions and systems with adjoining buildings. He has also spearheaded the application of universal design theory to codes for all university projects. Fred has taught at Oregon as an adjunct faculty member in Architecture and in Educational Leadership since 1993.


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