The design is noteworthy for its highly transparent curtain wall, which will flood perimeter labs with natural light. "OSU recognized the design needed to be memorable and contain elements that would help it attract and retain top research talent," says Reagan.

All told, Pelli Clarke Pelli presented OSU with 19 alternative schemes while competing for the commission, with Stantec assisting the university in evaluating candidate firms. "That's how we do it," says Constantino. "We typically launch a nationwide search for a design architect, with a local architect of record holding the contract. That's why we believe it's critical for the local firm to participate in the selection process."

After shortlisting 10 firms, OSU reduced the roster to four, each of which participated in an all-day design charette with representatives from Stantec and the university. Neither of the two finalists to advance after the charettes was well versed in lab design.

"At the end of the day, we thought the way Pelli Clarke Pelli presented was more creative, intriguing and in line with what we thought the building should be," says Constantino. "The upshot was that we added a lab specialist to the design team after we made our selection."

"Even after selecting Pelli Clarke Pelli, we weren't certain of what type of facility we'd wind up with," says Reagan. "We looked at those 19 alternatives and thought to ourselves, there's a solution in there somewhere, and together we're going to find it."