Ushering in Discovery: Trends and Challenges Driving the Emerging Scientific Enterprise

Allan Montpellier, PAE
Burcin Moehring

The pursuit of innovative scientific discovery, be it basic sciences curricula, modern medical breakthroughs, or alternative-energy strategies, relies on modern teaching and research applications, as well as the transformative environments that foster such discovery. Operating costs continue to rise even with great strides being made on energy efficiency measures of laboratories. At the same time the science and teaching styles continue to evolve and the demand for them to be adaptable to changing teaching styles never stops. This presentation examines how decisions on teaching styles, flexibility and early planning affect the programming of labs as well as the impact on the operating costs. It focuses on Washington State University's new science buildings and how challenges of first cost, operating and maintenance cost as well as an evolving curriculum were overcome through an integrated design approach. Meeting the challenges led to innovation, changes in teaching styles, as well as opportunities to increase collaboration between departments. This session is formatted to encourage an interactive dialogue between design experts and academic users.

Learning Objectives

  • 1. Participants will learn through the open dialogue and discussion the key drivers that are transforming academic curricula, its models, and most importantly, the environments that house such pioneering scientific development.
  • 2. Participants will be educated on how the strategic sustainable approaches and applications have influenced the scientific discovery environments and processes, integrating operational efficiencies, energy-use and carbon reductions, and environmental stewardship.
  • 3. Owner's perspective regarding return on investment for high performance strategies.
  • 4. Develop an understanding of how laboratory design is intertwined with energy use at WSU. -We will explore how fume hood quantity, configuration, and function impacts energy usage which has a direct impact on equipment sizing/first cost. -Requirements for day-lighting within labs reduce lighting energy, but drive the lab layout.


Allan is a mechanical engineer and a principal at PAE with more than 20 years of experience and a passion for high-performance buildings. Four of his projects have been awarded the AIA COTE award, ten of his projects have achieved LEED ratings, and seventeen are on the path to ratings from Silver to Platinum. Allan's work has been featured in publications like Architectural Record, Green Source, Urban Land and Building Design & Construction, while his projects have won awards and recognition from the US General Services Administration, Consulting Specifying Engineer and more. He has provided expertise for numerous laboratories throughout Seattle and Washington State, including the recent renovation of Washington State University’s Troy Hall, phase 2 of Washington State University's Global Animal Health facility, and the new Center for Science and Innovation at Seattle University. Allan currently serves as Treasurer for I2SL's Emerald City Chapter.


Burcin Moehring, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the Chair of AIA Seattle-Education and Board of Directors for I2SL. She has been responsible for design of multidiscipline science facilities including platinum ones at Beloit College, St. Olaf College and at CLC, Chicago. She has a detailed understanding of state-of-the-art laboratory design concepts and their impacts on building systems. She is passionate about working with scientists, translating their needs into highly designed and technical spaces.


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