Opportunity: The Chicago Botanic Garden’s expanding research programs were in need of new facilities that would fit into the Garden’s master plan and existing aesthetic.
Solution: Booth Hansen envisioned The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center as an anchor for the Garden’s 15-acre science campus. The 35,000 sf building is now the headquarters for the Garden’s research team as well as Northwestern University’s doctoral program in plant biology and conservation. Researchers and students enjoy nine topical laboratories dedicated to ecology, soil, population biology, plant systematics, genetics, economic botany, reproductive biology, seed bank preparation, and microscopy. From the gallery, visitors can observe and read displays about the ongoing research within the laboratories. Seminar rooms, an expanded herbarium, a plant science library, a seed bank, and office spaces beyond the labs also support scientific discoveries.
Value: High performance standards were applied throughout the design and construction process to achieve a beautiful and efficient building, on time and on budget. The new Science Center will be the first LEED gold building at the Chicago Botanic Garden. In 2010, the Science Center won the Laboratory of the Year Award given by R&D Magazine. In 201,1 the Science Center earned a Chicago Building Congress Award and was nominated for the Chicago Architecture Foundation Patron of the Year Award.