TechnologyUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison Engineering Centers

University of Wisconsin, Madison : Engineering CentersUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison : Engineering CentersUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison : Engineering Centers


The planning concepts for the laboratory areas are based upon a repetitive laboratory module size (24' x 24'), for the purpose of creating a flexible and cost-effective building. This repetitive design allows each research group to plan their own space according to their specific need, while maintaining a uniformity that allows for a different researcher to use the same type of space without the need to restructure the perimeter of the lab. Three different types of laboratory space provide the flexibility necessary to address current and anticipated needs. These range from a very basic laboratory that provides limited utilities to a highly technical cleanroom that addresses vibration issues to a chemical wet lab space that provides enhanced utilities and addresses safety issues. Visitors and students are welcome to see projects in progress, and the building's own engineering systems and internal workings are partially revealed, making the building itself a tool for learning. Understanding that engineering is not only an intellectual science, the Engineering Centers was designed to give students the opportunity to work in a variety of hands-on workshops. Unlike previous generations, today's students can enter college with little or no experience physically working with tools and machinery. The shops offer the opportunity for students to move their understanding beyond the virtual, electronic world they have been immersed in, developing a kinesthetic sense of how things work by handling the tools and actually fabricating things from biomedical devices to electric vehicles, canoes, and Formula One racers. The facility offers students woodworking, metal, and welding shops; an electronics lab; a canoe bay; and an auto shop.

Hands-on learning

AIA Wisconsin, Honor Award
ASLA Wisconsin, Chapter Merit Award

This interactive engineering complex serves as a communication hub for hundreds of students and faculty and is a crucial link between the engineering school and the campus. The myriad of activities happening within the facility are visually united by the building's dramatic public space, a three-story atrium backed by a translucent screen system.

A “hands-on” discovery lab and auto shop provide design and fabrication space for undergraduate students competing in national engineering competitions. An innovation center offers woodworking, metal, and welding shops. Class-1,000 through Class-10 cleanrooms provide the controlled environments required for ongoing research in biomedical engineering, nano- and micro-technology, and plasma manufacturing. Also included are research labs, offices, and presentation spaces for graduate and undergraduate students.

As architect of record, Flad worked collaboratively with building design architect Kohn Pedersen Fox.

Location: Madison, Wisconsin