UNM Physics and Astronomy Interdisciplinary Science Building
Best Project

Owner: University of New Mexico
Lead Design Firm: Van H. Gilbert Architect (AOR) & EYP Architecture
General Contractor: Bradbury Stamm Construction Inc.
Civil Engineer: Isaacson & Arfman P.A.
Structural Engineer: Chaves-Grieves Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Bridgers & Paxton
LEED Consultant: Verdacity

The project team designed the $51.2-million, 139,000-sq-ft University of New Mexico Physics and Astronomy Interdisciplinary Science (PAIS) Building to unite several science disciplines. Sustainability was a key focus of the facility, which was designed and constructed in accordance with LEED Gold standards.

Accommodating the four-story facility, located at the university’s “front door,” required demolition of a 60,000-sq-ft reservoir that yielded more than 11,000 tons of recyclable concrete debris diverted from the landfill. Keeping the 24-ft-high columns intact during demolition allowed the project team to incorporate material into benches at both the project site and the university’s reconstructed Smith Plaza. Based on project material costs, more than 27% of the building products feature recycled content. Also, nearly 14% of materials were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of PAIS.

The project team orchestrated review and approval of materials in several low-emitting product categories, reducing concentrations of chemical contaminants that can impact air quality, human health, productivity and the environment. Other sustainable initiatives included preventing construction-related pollution, notably control of soil erosion, waterway sedimentation and airborne dust.

PAIS features an interior living room, classrooms, a larger colloquium classroom, advanced research labs, wet and dry labs, optics labs, teaching labs, a visualization lab, neutron lab and a $3-million electronic microscope for particle physics study. Also included are offices and support space for staff and graduate students.

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