Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Building

“The project had ambitious time and budgetary goals and the team responded with both creativity and vigilance…Through the work of collaborative professionals, the facility exceeds expectations. Its location marks Michigan State University as the “gateway” to the Medical Mile and positions it to drive the university’s commitment for life-science innovation and expansion with future partners.”


- Elizabeth M. Lawrence, Senior Associate Dean, Strategy and Finance, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine

Grand Rapids Research Building

Michigan State University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

160,000 gsf

$67 million


The new biomedical research building, located in the Grand Rapids medical mile, an area defined by a rapidly expanding Life Sciences industry, provides research space for 33 Principal Investigators in the disciplines of Obstetrics Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Translational Science and Molecular Medicine, and Pediatrics and Human Development; the design provides for future expansion to accommodate 12 additional PI’s and their research groups.


Program spaces include wet and dry bench laboratories and lab support space in a 1:1 ratio, researcher write-up space, a 15,000 sf rodent facility comprising animal holding and procedure rooms, surgery, imaging and behavioral suites, and support spaces, offices for faculty and research administration, meeting rooms, and open breakout and collaborative areas.


The facility is configured as a seven-story building above ground with six occupied floors and a mechanical penthouse, with carefully zoned building blocks to support the primary goal of the project:  a research laboratory block with the animal facility on level six and a parallel office block with offices for the PI’s and support staff.  The two blocks are joined by a sky-lit atrium space with horizontal and stair connections, providing natural light to the researcher write-up areas and open office administrative spaces.  The horizontal connections have ample width to accommodate soft seating and discussion areas that promote discourse and collaboration.


Strategically located at the intersection of Michigan Street and Monroe Avenue, the building geometry is configured to create an active urban space at that major intersection.  The project is targeting Gold certification by the USGBC.  The projected energy use intensity (pEUI) for the building is 76.5 kBtu/sf/yr.  When compared to the adjusted Labs 21 national average EUI of 277 kBtu/sf/yr for similar laboratory buildings, the GRRC is projected to be 72% carbon neutral.


Ellenzweig served as Design Architect and Laboratory Planner in a collaboration with SmithGroup JJR, Architect of Record.