Noble Research Center takes OSU’s labs to the next level with innovative energy-saving features.
As the home for multiple Oklahoma State University entities, including the Boone Pickens School of Geology, the Center for Excellence for Laser Research, and the departments of animal science, entomology, biochemistry and plant pathology, this new research center was designed with innovative cost-savings features and then state-of-the-art technology, with the goal of taking the university’s research program into the new century. FSB served as the A/E of record for the structure, which is one of four adjacent buildings completed for the campus as part of a multi-phased expansion project.
A four-story glass atrium with a dramatically sloped roof is prominently located at the research center’s entrance, where it serves as a perfect gathering spot for formal and informal events. The facility is laid out along a central main street corridor, with laboratories extending along one side and office space along the other. Interspersed with the faculty offices and labs are multiple small open seating areas, whose intent is to facilitate more interaction between faculty and students. Also spaced along the corridor are multiple skylights, creating an abundance of natural lighting within the laboratories and other areas.
Green-tinted glass comprises the center’s roof – a color selected to match the roof tints of other nearby campus structures. FSB designed a specialized system of louvers which track the sun’s movement, opening and closing as needed depending on the angle of the sun. This captured energy is then used to help heat the building in winter months or is dispersed outside during warmer weather. The technology represents one of the first “baby steps” along the path to modern-day sustainability design. Since creation of the Noble Research Center, sustainability features continue to be enthusiastically embraced by university officials.
Specialized mechanical systems ensure appropriate ventilation in the laboratories; a critical need as the ongoing research conducted here often produces intense fumes. To protect the highly valuable long-term agricultural research within the growth labs, the center has backup systems, guaranteeing that temperatures remain consistent and equipment functional in the event of a power outage.
Also incorporated into the center are a 280-seat auditorium, two 90-seat student lecture rooms and multiple graduate studies seminar rooms. Finally, the building’s basement served as an initial home for OSU’s Center for Excellence in Laser Research, with an interior designed to reduce vibration in order to protect highly sensitive equipment.