Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Sciences

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

1 / 11 – Photo credit: Nic Lehoux
“Here at Rensselaer, we have a remarkable opportunity to marry engineering to biology, to nanotechnology, to chemistry, to information technology, and the list goes on. The open design of this center is both a physical manifestation, and a metaphor, for how we work, as collaboration and interaction are encouraged and supported.”
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, RPI President



The Center, designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Burt, Hill, facilitates multidisciplinary research in the basic life sciences, applied sciences and engineering with focused research including: Biocatalysis and Metabolic Engineering, Biocomputational and Bioinformatics, Integrated Systems Biology, Nanobiotechnology, Functional Tissue Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine. The design focuses on creating a facility to support demanding research, both experimental and theoretical, in a truly interdisciplinary environment shaped and powered by faculty, researcher and student interaction.

Creating a physical environment that supports and fosters collaboration and innovation begins in the building’s programmatic organization. An inner ‘L’ houses four stories of wet and dry laboratories with core lab areas for shared resources, including an NMR suite. The outer ‘L’ holds three levels of offices, formal conference rooms, and a collection of varied informal meeting spaces. The two are joined by a central atrium, capped by a shingled glass roof, which negotiates their height difference and allows natural light to fill this connecting space. Bridges connect the laboratories to the offices and conference rooms allowing the atrium to act as a backdrop for impromptu discussions, a hallmark of collaborative environments.

Project Data

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
2001 – 2004
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
219,000 sf


Honor Award for Design Excellence
Award of Excellence for Architectural Detailing