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Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory, University of Delaware

Ayers Saint Gross


University of Delaware


  • Kris Satterfield
  • Earl Purdue AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Andrew Watkins, Project Manager; Candice Rabovsky, Project Architect; Mike Salsbury, Project Architect; Chi Yan, Design Architect
  • BioHabitats, Inc.
  • Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc.
  • TBS Services


  • General Contractor: The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
  • Civil Engineer: Rummel Klepper & Kahl
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
  • Mechanical Engineer: Mueller Associates
  • Landscape Architect: Ayers Saint Gross
  • Research Facilities Design
  • Building Enclosure/Artwork: Koffel Associates, Inc.
  • Lighting Designer: Crampton/Dunlop
  • Structural Engineer: Vibro Acoustic Consultants
  • Technology Integrator: Cerami & Associates
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Project Description


The University of Delaware's new science building, the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) accommodates undergraduate teaching lab space for the arts and sciences, specifically the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology) and general registrar classrooms. In addition, the building houses state-of-the-art engineering research labs and core facilities serving the University’s research endeavors. The University’s vision for the project was to create a place that embraces a commitment to teaching, learning, and research and fosters collaboration, stimulating a passion for science discovery among students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Thus creating a literal “Path to Prominence” to meet the institutional goal of promoting collaborative interdisciplinary research through shared support, open labs, and core facilities. Programming for ISE Lab considered successful pedagogical models for delivery of problem based science education developed and refined at the university. Unrestrained by the conventional silos of the core science disciplines, the framework for the new interdisciplinary curriculum used the PBL format in conjunction with highly flexible instructional labs. This new technology-rich lab-PBL classroom module formed the underpinning of the new interdisciplinary curriculum and informed the layout of the building.  In lieu of traditional lab, lecture and discussion format, students in this new curriculum are to meet once a day for two hours a five days a week to fulfill the requisite contact hours. The building is organized into two components; instruction and research, both connected via bridge. The instructional building houses PBL classrooms, registrar classrooms, lab and lab support spaces, Faculty offices, breakout spaces, commons, and food service. The instructional wing contains Institute offices, research labs, Advanced Materials Characterization Lab, Synthesis lab, microscopy/imaging suites, and a 9,000 SF class 100 clean room. The building is designed to contribute to a vibrant streetscape and pedestrian realm facilitating movement to and thru the site connecting the main campus core to the developing east campus. The buildings outward expression uses materials and fenestration patterns to connect it to older campus buildings while other materials express the exploration of modern science and transparency. Strategically located to capture movement thru the site, the commons is a campus-wide destination for students, faculty and staff to congregate, collaborate, and study. The building forms a ’U’ shape, framing a south facing plaza.  This plaza provides exterior gathering space for students and formal events. Stormwater management is visibly expressed through the buildings green roofs, runnels, pre-treatment planters, and bio-retention plantings.

Jury quote: "A great addition to the University of Delaware through the beautiful integration of the landscape and architecture that creates a new sense of place." 

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