University of Wisconsin, Madison Biochemistry
A blending of elements, inside and out
RecognitionAIA Wisconsin, Honor Award
The University of Wisconsin's Biochemistry department has fundamentally changed our understanding of the chemical basis of life. Its researchers discovered Vitamin A and the Vitamin B complex. They performed the first chemical synthesis of a gene. Through biology, they have improved the human condition.
As the department evolved, so did the complex that houses it. The original 1912 structure was expanded with several additions, but still lacked vital elements of a vibrant research space. So the university developed goals for the 21st century: to design a new biochemistry building with a unified, supportive environment for interaction and collaboration among researchers, and to update the image of the department.
Designed for graduate research, the new building features labs, a library, lecture space, offices, animal holding, and a nuclear magnetic resonance facility. Gothic and deco architectural elements make it a focal point at the western gateway of campus. The red brick pilasters complement older university buildings, and reinforce the traditional campus aesthetic. This unique blend of styles reveals a metaphor for research - discovering both the mechanical and metaphysical elements of the biological and chemical worlds.
We had a really visible spot on campus that demanded a building that had some stature to it; we had a department that was important,
and wanted a building that reflected it's stature. And I've really enjoyed seeing how it's come out.
Michael M. CoxPhDProfessor of Biochemistry