Energy research animates science sector [2013 Giants 300 Report]

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.

The University of California–Berkeley Energy Biosciences Building, focused on bi
The University of California–Berkeley Energy Biosciences Building, focused on biofuels, exemplifies multiple S+T sector trends. The $133 million, 113,200-sf lab is sustainably designed (LEED Gold) and integrates diverse disciplines to attack complex problems of global energy. BP supported the initiative with a $500 million, 10-year grant, and has stationed engineers and scientists to work alongside UC–Berkeley researchers. SmithGroupJJR designed the project. PHOTO: BRUCE DAMONTE
August 08, 2013

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 FIRMS

 
2012 S+T Revenue ($)
1 HDR Architecture $91,252,000
2 Perkins+Will $48,373,568
3 HOK $38,347,000
4 Stantec $33,111,469
5 SmithGroupJJR $26,400,000
6 Flad Architects $21,480,000
7 Payette $18,434,029
8 ZGF Architects $16,214,267
9 EwingCole $11,000,000
10 FKP Architects $10,250,000

TOP S&T SECTOR ENGINEERING FIRMS

 
2012 S+T Revenue ($)
1 Affiliated Engineers $19,824,000
2 Middough $13,900,000
3 URS Corp. $11,772,124
4 Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers $10,500,000
5 RMF Engineering Design $9,200,000
6 Vanderweil Engineers $7,851,900
7 Paulus, Sokolowski and Sartor $7,500,000
8 WSP USA $5,772,095
9 Science Applications International Corp. $3,103,152
10 STV $2,937,000

TOP S&T SECTOR CONSTRUCTION FIRMS

 
2012 S+T Revenue ($)
1 Skanska USA $376,717,474
2 DPR Construction $298,563,642
3 Suffolk Construction $290,560,307
4 Manhattan Construction $199,444,000
5 Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., The $193,160,425
6 JE Dunn Construction $184,799,051
7 Clark Group $174,348,804
8 Turner Corporation, The $157,490,000
9 Structure Tone $143,798,000
10 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.

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