Iowa State University, known for its diverse collection of academic programs and commitment to hands-on learning, sought to further strengthen its multidisciplinary culture of innovation with a state-of-the-art building that could centralize undergraduate experimentation across fields of study. The Student Innovation Center provides a flexible, dynamic space that encourages around-the-clock experimentation, collaboration, and free exchange of ideas. The Center captures the spirit of higher education by housing physical and intellectual resources from all of Iowa State’s undergraduate colleges into a single facility to enable and promote interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. To accomplish its mission to be a space of collaborative learning, experimentation, and entrepreneurship for the entire university community, the building hosts a variety of fixed and flexible spaces for a variety of users, including prototyping labs, fabrication studios, and open classrooms. To design a building that supported the needs of students, the design team conducted an in-depth discovery process that included surveying the entire student body, hosting interdisciplinary and subject-area focus groups, and meeting with stakeholders. Rather than simply co-locate the facilities for different degree programs, the building provides paths for collaboration through strategic placement of resources and program attractors that encourage circulation. By bringing together functions that were distributed across campus, programs can remove silos around learning and share resources. Despite the high energy demands of the Center’s various makerspaces—including a glassblowing studio with furnaces operating 24/7—the project achieved LEED Gold certification. Located in the plains of Iowa, the Student Innovation Center is optimized to keep cool underneath bright and open prairie skies. Balancing natural light with cooling methods, the pleated exterior façade accepts or rejects solar gain based on the angle of the pleat, reducing solar heat gain by over one-third. The unitized façade was fabricated off-site, with each pleat consisting of two insulated glass panels, one which includes a full-height shadow box to control solar gain. Well-ventilated student workshop areas constantly move air in and out of the building to maintain air quality and regulate temperatures. The air supply system recovers energy to condition the air supply and minimize peak heating and cooling loads and overall energy use. The perimeter radiant heating system additionally allows UFAD system fans to be turned on only when heating is needed, saving significant fan energy. While the historic 168-foot Marston Water Tower adjacent to the Student Innovation Center towers over the site and adjacent campus, the 146,000 square foot Building is heated and cooled from campus chilled water and steam. The building’s green prairie roof and adjacent landscape decrease the site’s nonporous footprint by replacing it with a permeable landscape, capturing rainwater and mitigating runoff. The project further acts to reduce the impact of stormwater by incorporating below-grade detention designed to ease the burden on an overburdened campus infrastructure. The result is a building that captures the spirit of higher education on campus, serving as both a gateway and destination. The Student Innovation Center attracts undergraduate innovators, creators, and collaborators across disciplines inside a building that anticipates their needs and supports creativity wherever it grows.
Founded in 1984, KieranTimberlake brings together the experience and talents of over 100 professionals of diverse backgrounds and abilities in a practice that is recognized worldwide. Projects include the programming, planning, and design of new structures as well as the conservation, renovation, and transformation of existing buildings, with special expertise in education, government, arts and culture, civic, and residential projects.
Common to all of the firm's work is that each project begins with a question and continues its development within a culture of continuous asking, ensuring that design results from deep investigation. KieranTimberlake is committed not only to delivering the highest quality services to our clients, but also to pursuing ideas that push the practice of architecture forward.