Marcus Nanotechnology Research Center Building, Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia

New Construction

Design Architect

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Architect of Record

M+W Group
Chicago, Illinois

General Contractor

Whiting-Turner Company
Atlanta, Georgia

Copper Manufacturer

Luvata Buffalo, Inc.
Buffalo, New York

Sheet Metal Contractor

LinEl Signature
Mooresville, Indiana

A perforated copper panel screen around three sides of this hall of technological learning and development bring thermal control, aesthetic beauty, and sustainability into a unified context with the campus and surrounding landscape.

The Marcus Nanotechnology Research Center Building is among the nation's leading nanotechnology research centers and one of the largest cleanroom facilities in the southeast. Located in Atlanta, GA, it is the first such facility designed to provide significant space for the application of nanoscience to biotechnology research, particularly in the fields of health care, green energy development and personal technology. The client, a large technological university, envisioned the building as an important campus landmark.

The $70 million project accommodates a program of 190,000 gross square feet, including 30,000 square feet of cleanroom floor space for organic and inorganic research, and about three times that amount in support space, such as flexible lab space, office and conference facilities, and central public area for circulation and social activities. The architects transcended rigorous technical requirements to achieve a humanistic, campus-oriented building reflecting the excitement of cutting-edge research.

A 22,000-square-foot, perforated copper panel screen wall encloses the cleanroom block's central mass and peripheral support areas. The copper screen wall is the primary visual expression of the cleanroom block, making it a unified architectural whole that befits the building's central campus location. Copper was selected for its sustainable, naturally weathering, low-maintenance and aesthetically pleasing qualities.

The copper panel screen wall harmonizes with the building's architectural elements, as well as the adjacent landscape and campus context. Perforated to varying degrees around the building, the copper screen wall permits varied daylight penetration and airflow, depending on localized visual and ventilation requirements. The copper screen wall provides a shading element to improve thermal performance, while acting as an additional sun reflector on the south elevation. At night, the copper screen wall is backlit, accentuating this remarkable architectural feature.

Despite the center's energy-intensive research activities, the architects designed the building to meet LEED certification requirements. Extensive passive solar control, sophisticated mechanical systems, rainwater harvesting and other cutting edge building elements all lower the buildings environmental footprint while external plug-in charging for the University's fleet of zero-emission vehicles extends the buildings environmental benefit beyond the building space.

Additional Key Partners

  • Georgia Institute of Technology Owner/Developer, Atlanta, GA gatech.edu
  • Clough Harbour & Associates LLP (Structural/Civil Engineer), Atlanta, GA chacompanies.com
  • M+W Group (Mechanical/Electrical Engineer), Chicago, IL 60661 usa.mwgroup.net
  • Research Facilities Design (RFD) (Laboratory Planner), San Diego, CA rfd.com
  • EDAW, Inc. (AECOM) (Landscape Architect), Atlanta, GA aecom.com
  • Fisher Marantz Stone (Lighting Design), New York, NY fmsp.com

Architectural Category: Exotic or Unusual Applications

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com

Photo Credit: Nic Lehoux, Vancouver, BC, niclehoux.com