Design and Structure
The Henry Bellmon Research Center was specially designed and constructed to support the researchers and laboratories it houses. Architects Rees Associates and partner Canon Design, with input from an Oklahoma State University steering committee, chose a massive concrete waffle slab structure to minimize building vibrations, which are often disruptive to experiments. The 94 concrete columns that support the structure run 40 feet under the ground.
The labs were created using a 10’ 8” x 35’ 0” lab module. The space allows for both a zone of research space and a zone of support space within the module. It also maintains flexibility so the space meets the needs of current and future researchers.
Outside the labs, the steering committee selected a perimeter corridor scheme to create numerous teaming and collaboration spaces that support the building’s mission. This also allowed the exterior design to be independent from the lab module, encouraging large glass areas on the facade. Natural light fills the spaces on every floor – even the third, which was outfitted with dormers.
To combat the potentially excessive light and heat, the façade is outfitted with tinted, low-e, insulated glass. Upper and lower portions of the windows are coated with a ceramic frit dot pattern, which provides additional shading while allowing visibility through the glass. The main west façade also incorporates sun shades that provide another layer of shading. Placing the labs away from the exterior walls also helps to maintain and stabilize temperatures within the labs, which can be critical to certain experiments.
In keeping with OSU’s sustainability initiatives, the building contains recycled/recyclable materials and cradle-to-cradle technologies in furnishings to the broadest extent possible.
Flintco Construction Solutions, a Tulsa-based company and premier provider of higher education construction, executed the design and completed the facility in just less than three years.