Photo by Dan Schwalm
University of Maryland Physical Sciences Complex, College Park, Md.

Plans for the 160,246-sq-ft Physical Sciences Complex were updated dramatically late in the design process when a $10-million grant was received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST is one of several entities that benefit from academic research at the $100-million complex, along with the University of Maryland's physics and astronomy departments, the National Institutes of Health, Institute for Physical Science and Technology, the Joint Space Institute and the Joint Quantum Institute.

The NIST grant required additional lab space to be included in the facility. The revised project design was approximately 10% over budget because the new design reflected significant cost increases. Gilbane, UMD and HDR analyzed each building system in order to bring the project back to budget while maintaining the grant's requirements. Based on this analysis, the team selected post-tension for the structure, caissons for the foundation and bracketed piles for the excavation. The building's exterior was redesigned to meet the university's budget while preserving the aesthetic appearance the design architect envisioned.

The first through third floors of the six-level research facility include faculty offices, collaborative spaces, research laboratories and associated support spaces. The below-grade floors include more than 60 labs. They include prep labs, laser and condensed-matter labs and biophysics labs.

The building also features an inverted glass cone extending from the plaza through a roof opening that serves as the building's focal and gathering point.

Higher Education/Research: Award of Merit - University of Maryland Physical Sciences Complex, College Park, Md.

Key Players

Owner University of Maryland

General Contractor Gilbane Building Co.

Lead Design Firm HDR

Structural Engineer Hope Furrer Associates

Civil Engineer A. Morton Thomas & Associates

MEP Engineer HDR

Concrete Schuster Concrete Construction

Electrical Mona Electric Group

Electromagnetics VitaTech Electromagnetics

MEP Balancing Air Balancing Engineers

Landscape and Hardscape Ruppert Landscape