SIUE New Wet Sciences Building, A Unique Perspective on Sustainability Through Architecture, Technology, and Innovative Teaching Models

Robert Bohack, Hastings+Chivetta Architects, Inc.
Leslie Garner, Hastings+Chivetta Architects, Inc.

This presentation has been developed to address energy and sustainability concepts beyond the standard architectural and building technology items generally employed and driven by certification requirements for College and University Science Buildings. How we teach science is just as important as what we teach and can have a major impact on reducing construction cost as well as energy costs. The Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (SIUE) Science Building provided a very unique and challenging set of circumstances that took the design beyond typical programming criteria.


The SIUE science department had not only outgrown but wore out their mid-60s Science Building. This was due in part to university growth and the addition of Schools of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry, the lab classes for these all falling upon the science department.


The challenge was to provide a new sciences facility that would accommodate the present and future needs for the teaching of science at the university. The faculty were already, out of necessity, developing new teaching models to try and keep up with teaching load demands on the department. An additional challenge was to provide a new 150,000-square-foot building and renovate the existing 175,000-square-foot building without over taxing the existing Campus Chilled Water System, as no funding was available to increase the capacity of this system. State funding required the new building to be certified LEED Silver.


Provide a new Wet Sciences Building adjacent to the existing building. This allowed the existing building to remain in service during construction. Once the new building was occupied, the existing building would be renovated for the physics and math departments.

Design and Programming Process:

We will describe site orientation and the use of sun angle and exhaust plume studies to properly site the building. We will then discuss the architectural design restrictions imposed by campus design criteria and architectural elements utilized to meet sustainable criteria. We will discuss the programming of the teaching and research labs, many as multiuse labs to meet budget and programming needs. Building technology employed will be discussed. We will present our LEED certification information. Needing a Silver certification, we missed a Gold certification by one point. Finally, we will present the design concepts employed to meet the new and innovative teaching models developed by the faculty and how the building has met these needs and even provides flexibility in ways not initially realized.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the benefits of an integrated programming approach to maximize sustainability in university teaching and research labs.
  • Emphasize the benefits of a design team who incorporates the teaching faculty of a university in sustainable decision making.
  • Provide specific examples of "outside the box" ideas for sustainable design solutions.
  • Show the benefits of collaboration with teaching professionals early in the sustainable process which may help develop new and innovative teaching models.


Robert Bohack is a senior associate and project architect with more than 40 years of experience in projects ranging from health care facilities, convention hotels, universities, and laboratories. He specializes in collegiate science facilities, having worked more on more than a dozen collegiate research and educational laboratories since joining Hastings+Chivetta in 1997. Bob is a member of I2SL, the AIA, and is a LEED AP professional.

Leslie Garner is the sustainability expert and director of the Columbia, Mo., office for Hastings+Chivetta. She helps ensure projects comply with internal sustainability expectations, and is a resource for architects and designers throughout the firm. As director, she oversees projects in the region and is the primary client contact. Ms. Garner is a LEED AP BD+C, GGP and GPCP professional.


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