The Purdue University Northwest Nils K. Bioscience Innovation Building (BIB) is a dynamic building leading the trend of higher education institutions designing interdisciplinary hubs that serve multiple purposes for students. As a collaborative STEM and health science education building that unites the school’s College of Nursing and Department of Biology, the building’s unique design adds dimension to the learning environment by placing cross-disciplinary labs adjacent to public spaces so all students can experience the culture of discovery.
Located in northwest Indiana where healthcare is the number two economic driver, the facility will serve as talent hub for the region’s workforce pipeline. The integration of learning spaces, collaboration zones and wellness components ensures students have spaces to study, socialize and be inspired—providing an environment that promotes achievement by nurturing the whole student.
The building is organized around a three-story lobby and a grand staircase that weaves people and space together. Every classroom and research lab that faces the central stairwell and lobby has a glass wall for visual connections. To help foster collaboration and inspire learning, nursing students are “on display” as they work on highly advanced manikins, and researchers conduct lab work while passersby look on.
Because it’s a narrow building, you can walk from one entry to the other in six seconds. Within those six seconds you see a biology lab, you see nursing simulation rooms, you see student interactions, and then you’re out the door. It’s a high-impact space—even with no time spent in the building and no deviation, you just see this incredible glimpse of what Purdue Northwest has to offer.Jacob Lenson Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Planning, Infrastructure and Facilities
To provide more social space for students, our team implemented a scaled-down approach to staff offices, featuring a combination of private offices, open workstations, micro-offices and adjacent enclave rooms—offering right-sized settings for every type of work modality.
As part of an integrated design team, our Blue Cottage of CannonDesign consultants developed a workplace strategy that included an intensive utilization study of the current work environment and a Work Experience Survey open to faculty and staff. Insights derived from these data collection methods laid the groundwork for the building to model new ways of working on campus. In particular, the College of Nursing adopted an innovative, flexible work environment that includes shared workstations and multiple choices of work settings for faculty and staff.
Additionally, the planning strategy provides 200% more student collaboration space than what was requested in the original client program. According to the university, the Bioscience Innovation Building is now the most utilized building on campus.