Allen Institute
Region Northwest
Higher Education/Research

Project Team
Vulcan Inc.
General Contractor GLY
Lead Design Firm Perkins + Will
Subcontractors/Consultants BOLA Architecture + Planning, Candela, Sparling, Coughlin Porter Lundeen, McKinstry, Affiliated Engineers NW, Valley Electric, GeoEngineers and Pioneer Masonry

While the research that takes place within the 270,000-sq-ft Allen Institute is impressive, engineering and structural accomplishments achieved while building the structure impressed ENR’s “Best of the Best” judges.

The facility, which houses the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Allen Institute for Cell Science and Paul G. Allen Frontiers, is located just south of Lake Union. Conditions at the site caused the design-build team to perform dewatering, including removing and treating up to 300 gallons of water per minute. As part of that process, multiple monitoring points were set up to ensure the mineral springs did not affect the structural integrity, and an electric-coagulation water treatment system was established.

The team’s ability to address dewatering concerns early on and deliver the complicated project with minimal changes made it a “clear winner” for “Best of the Best,” says one ENR judge.

The seven-story building features wet and dry labs, a data center, an education center and an electron microscopy area, which all are designed and built to complement each other. For instance, heat rejected by the data center heats the office and lab spaces. The team also pushed prefabrication and used multitrade racks to install roughly three weeks’ worth of labor in an afternoon, notes McKinstry’s Brian Antonsen.

The facility also incorporated the former Ford and Pacific McKay car showrooms, which sat on the site and were designated historical sites in 2006, into the new facility. Subcontractor Pioneer Masonry cataloged and disassembled the terra-cotta facades before later installing them in the new structure.

The project features new rail-line construction, including eight miles of water and sewer utilities, more than 100 retaining walls and 50,154 ft of light-rail-ballasted track.

Best of the Best Projects 2016