Chemical Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building, The Ohio State University

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Columbus, Ohio, USA
235,000 square feet / 22,000 square meters

The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building (CBEC) is a definitive architectural expression at The Ohio State University, designed to cater research innovation and multi-disciplinary inclusivity. Through flexible architectural framework, the design successfully merges four academic departments with complex programming needs into one efficient building that accommodates undergraduate and graduate students.

Located in the science sector of OSU’s main campus, the building defines a new campus quadrangle known as the North Green. A new path in front of CBEC connects a significant outdoor public space known as The Oval—OSU’S landmark open space—to the North Housing district, resulting in a new hub for outdoor life. With the increased traffic, the colorful and bright interiors of the main lobby—from an LED light installation by Leo Villareal and graceful waving floor-to-ceiling glass windows—play a significant role in providing students, faculty, and staff ideal working spaces outside of their own departmental building. This conscientious design adds to the unobtrusive, open, and airy exteriors, which utilize natural light and landscaped views.

CBEC’s façade is a cross section of metal sunshades and glass with terracotta cladding accents integrated into the unitized curtain wall. The glass on the wave wall features steel mullions to give a more reserved expression at street level, as well as giving the appearance of the tower and lab wing floating above it.

A multi-level bridge flanked with conference rooms connects the two main components of CBEC, unifying offices and theoretical research in the six-story tower with experimental research and teaching spaces in the four-story wing. The unifying bridge allows a variety of productive collaboration for centralized learning and discovery without the need to travel across campus. The multitude of spaces shared between the two buildings support flexibility in group size, type, instrumentation arrays, and environmental formats.

The building is The Ohio State University’s only LEED laboratory building with high-​performance building systems and advanced materials for energy efficiency.