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Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Sciences Building

By HDR Architecture | Lemont, Ill.


When designing a home for scientists who work toward some of the most significant findings of our time (advances in how the world consumes and conserves energy), there’s only one route to follow: that of transparency.

The Argonne National Laboratory’s LEED Gold-certified Energy Sciences Building brings interdisciplinary scientists all under one roof. The design strategy encourages them to interact and collaborate—a big change from the previous silo format. A central atrium gives them the ability to see from one level to another, and the building’s main entrances all funnel into it. The space also houses the elevator banks, break rooms, and some major conference areas. Skylights on the south side of the atrium allow sun to cascade through the two-story site, creating a bright and airy atmosphere.

Laboratories feature glass walls to the corridors, allowing people to look in while also contributing to safety because workers can see and be seen at all times. The north facade is also clear glass, “which helps to literally take that concept of transparency through to the outside of the building,” said Warren Hendrickson, AIA LEED AP, BD+C, vice president and regional director of science and technology at HDR. “It allows people to look in and see that it is a laboratory building.”

A true architectural highlight of the building is the open frame, dubbed “sky-gate,” located at its west end. It anchors the pedestrian path linking the existing north and south campuses and provides a sheltered area with benches. This feature promotes Argonne’s push toward a more walking-friendly campus.

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Argonne National Laboratory's Energy Sciences Building
By HDR Architecture | Lemont, Ill.

When designing a home for scientists who work toward some of the most significant findings of our time (advances in how the world consumes and conserves energy), there’s only one route to follow: that of transparency.

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