The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission "to improve the human condition through plant science." Recognizing the need to expand its existing research facility, the center contracted with our team to program and design a facility that could accommodate 10 new research teams, or 100 scientists.
The resulting four-story, 75,000-square-foot addition is organized and designed to complement the existing building's architectural language and its functional organization. The addition provides open, flexible lab spaces, an advanced plant growth facility, a computational crop improvement lab, and a maker shop for new instrument development.
The interface between the existing building and the addition is a three-story social hub including a café that overlooks research greenhouse structures and the Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park incubator research building. The second and third floors each offer smaller gathering areas along a bridge connection that is an extension of the existing building's main service corridor.
Within the addition, the north side of each floor consists of private offices and open office space. The research space is organized around an open lab that is shared by the PIs on the floor and is outfitted with a combination of fixed and mobile casework and overhead ceiling panels that offer a high level of flexibility for research activities.
In addition to providing a home for research, the DDPSC serves as a venue for industry, educational, and social events. Careful consideration was given to public routes through the building that provide opportunities for visual access to the scientific activities occurring in the building without compromising the daily routine of research and operations. A tour corridor on the first floor of the expansion, defined on the south by a wall of glass looking into the seasonal garden, connects the facility entrance and atrium in the existing building to a new 100-seat auditorium at the west end of the addition.
Flad planned and designed all scientific workplace and research spaces, and Christner served as architect of record for the building exterior and interior public space.