After an era of biology-oriented spending—largely driven by Big Pharma and government concerns about bioterrorism—climate change is reshaping priorities in science and technology construction. “Engineering and chemistry funding are going up now, as is energy research, which seems to continue to get federal funding,” says Andy Vazzano, FAIA, LEED AP, Science and Technology Practice Leader at SmithGroupJJR. “Meanwhile, the sequester and budget cuts are having a negative impact on NIH funding for biomedical research.”
The focus on human health hasn’t totally faded, with many research universities still building new labs—especially those that tie research to clinical practice. “Anything that begins with ‘trans’ or ‘inter’ is still a major trend,” says Ryan Abbott, Science and Technology Project Director at Sundt Construction and a BD+C “40 Under 40” honoree (Class of 2012). “Translational, interdisciplinary. Modern science is a team sport.”
TOP S&T SECTOR ARCHITECTURE FIRMS2012 S+T Revenue ($)1 HDR Architecture $91,252,0002 Perkins+Will $48,373,5683 HOK $38,347,0004 Stantec $33,111,4695 SmithGroupJJR $26,400,0006 Flad Architects $21,480,0007 Payette $18,434,0298 ZGF Architects $16,214,2679 EwingCole $11,000,00010 FKP Architects $10,250,000
TOP S&T SECTOR ENGINEERING FIRMS2012 S+T Revenue ($)1 Affiliated Engineers $19,824,0002 Middough $13,900,0003 URS Corp. $11,772,1244 Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers $10,500,0005 RMF Engineering Design $9,200,0006 Vanderweil Engineers $7,851,9007 Paulus, Sokolowski and Sartor $7,500,0008 WSP USA $5,772,0959 Science Applications International Corp. $3,103,15210 STV $2,937,000
TOP S&T SECTOR CONSTRUCTION FIRMS2012 S+T Revenue ($)1 Skanska USA $376,717,4742 DPR Construction $298,563,6423 Suffolk Construction $290,560,3074 Manhattan Construction $199,444,0005 Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., The $193,160,4256 JE Dunn Construction $184,799,0517 Clark Group $174,348,8048 Turner Corporation, The $157,490,0009 Structure Tone $143,798,00010 Consigli Construction $74,568,263
Though the purpose-built med school building is the iconic face of S+T, adaptive reuse is getting a second look for advantages in cost and speed. Many clients are also seeking higher levels of green; LEED Platinum, once thought impossible for labs, is no longer unique, and clients are increasingly eyeing net-zero.
In addition, look for public/private partnerships to assume a greater role, even in the rarefied atmosphere of the Ivy League. Harvard, for instance, has rethought its Allston science campus during a recession hiatus. When the site cranks up again next year, the program will include a 36-acre, privately developed “enterprise research campus” for related companies in pharma, biotech, and venture capital.