Remaking A Campus Gateway With A Sustainable Academic Research Facility

Tyler Dykes, Affiliated Engineers
Jon Szczesniak, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Florida State University's (FSU) Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science (EOAS) facility is a 7-story building that totals approximately 136,000 square feet located on a prominent site at the main North gateway to FSU campus. FSU's department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences encompasses a broad range of teaching and research topics, research methods, and interdisciplinary fields of study. As is typical of an academic building, a key project goal is to create a facility that will successfully adapt to a range of research topics for decades to come. Some of the laboratories are computer based, thus allowing lower investment in intense building infrastructure and providing long-term adaptability as candidates for future use as classrooms, theory based research, large conference rooms, or open office space. The remaining teaching laboratories have special requirements for fume hoods, wet processing, and traditional laboratory piped services which will always be required by the EOAS department. These teaching labs could also be used for research. The laboratories are designed with an open lab concept in a modular fashion, allowing modification in the future as well as ease of ongoing maintenance. This approach also facilitates interaction and co-sponsored research, and simplifies reassignments as faculty and grant allocations change.

This presentation will highlight the unique challenges associated with this project in terms of program needs, sustainability, site constraints, and adaptability for the future. The design team balanced the needs of various university stakeholders to meet programmatic goals and minimize EUI in a collaborative approach to building design. Specific examples include overcoming common issues related to campus steam distribution as well as chilled beam implementation. Discussions will summarize the glazing and envelope analysis, the creation of an occupied ‘mezzanine' space with integrated utilities, developing maintenance-appropriate energy reduction strategies with FSU, and accommodating late-stage revisions to the program. These examples, combined with a proven approach to benchmarking, life cycle cost analyses, and energy modeling, will illustrate how the EOAS facility will serve as the cornerstone of FSU's long-term plan to re-develop its inventory of science and research buildings.

Learning Objectives

  • Define synergistic goals for functionality, sustainability, and serviceability.
  • Overcome pitfalls associated with commonplace design strategies using site and space specific anlysis.
  • Optimize a constrained redeveloped project site to maximize building efficiency using an integrated approach to building and site planning.
  • Establish a level of comfort in new technologies for various project stakeholders with differing priorities.


As a Project Engineer in AEI's Science & Technology Group, Tyler leads mechanical design teams on new construction and renovation projects for sustainable laboratories with highly specialized and technically challenging applications for a wide range of clients. Tyler is involved from early stage conceptual planning through design, construction, startup, and post occupancy. His projects have earned LEED and Green Globes certifications, including two new LEED Platinum facilities.

Jon's approach to design is grounded in the use of technology as a tool to assist in making informed design decisions. He uses different tools and programs to quantify the performance of various solutions and integrate the findings into the process of creating thoughtful architecture. Jon continues to find and explore ways to integrate a sustainable approach to all projects while striving to reduce material and monetary waste through an iterative and integrated design process.


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