Suburban research parks are challenged to compete with increasingly popular urban environments to attract and retain tenants. In response, University Research Park (URP), an internationally recognized hub of innovation and research affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is enlivening and densifying its campus.
URP and Valerio Dewalt Train (VDT) partnered on the master plan, which calls for improving connectivity between buildings, adding a new road, and replacing surface parking with below-grade parking to leave the ground level open for public space and amenities. The changes led existing tenant Exact Sciences, a leading molecular diagnostics company, to work with URP and VDT to design a new office building as its headquarters.
The result, 'Innovation One,' was recently completed, featuring an iconic curving form, a human-scaled pedestrian realm, spaces for collaboration, and sustainable design strategies that garnered LEED Silver certification.
Two interconnected volumes occupy the corner of the newly platted site. The curving enclosure of the primary volume is composed of bands of glass, ceramic print panels, and a sophisticated zinc cladding.
The exposed concrete structure lifts the upper floors, as if the building were floating over the ground plane. The adjacent glass and steel volume, referred to as 'the link,' connects to the labs with a stair with backlit panels that glow in the evening.
Desks, meeting rooms and office amenities are located on levels three to five. With vertical circulation and services tucked to the building core, all of the desk areas are pushed to the periphery, providing employees with unobstructed access to natural light and views of the exterior. The floor-to-ceiling glazing was designed as a continuous, fluid element of vision glass, spandrel glass, and metal panel - equally expressive while budget-conscious, using a single radius for all curved glass modules.
Photography: Steve Hall