Michigan State University STEM Complex

Michigan State University STEM Complex

“At MSU we are constantly evaluating how we deliver a world-class education while also looking forward.  What is the future of teaching?  What is the future of learning?  Nowhere is that more evident than the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility.  We looked beyond just constructing a building to how the curriculum is delivered and how spaces are used, with a focus on the student experience.  The potential impact is unlimited.”

- Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President, Michigan State University

Michigan State University STEM Complex

East Lansing, Michigan | 134,700 gsf new; 40,000 gsf renovations | $90 million | 2021

Ellenzweig provided feasibility study, programming, lab planning,  architectural design, and construction administration services for this new STEM Complex consisting of two new building wings joined to a renovated former power plant.


The STEM Complex consolidates a number of undergraduate teaching laboratories previously dispersed across campus, creating a central hub for STEM teaching and learning. The program includes learning spaces for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Engineering. The teaching labs are all designed to maximize flexibility, utilizing an overhead service grid with specially designed vertical service drops to allow table location to be reconfigured easily over time. Further, the suite of rooms includes movable walls in strategic locations so that spaces can be enlarged or subdivided as the learning needs evolve. All of the learning spaces embrace an active learning approach, emphasizing team-based learning. The STEM facilities include ample break-out and collaboration spaces to support the new team-based pedagogies. The renovated 1940’s power plant has includes the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, Building Commons, maker spaces, student help-space, and faculty and staff offices.


A unique feature of the project is the use of glue-laminated wooden columns and cross-laminated timber, or CLT, for its structural elements. It is the first building in Michigan to use mass timber for its load-bearing structure.


Ellenzweig served as Design Architect and Laboratory Planner, working in a collaboration with IDS, Architect of Record and designer of the power plant portion of the project.


Watch this video by WoodWorks – Wood Product Council that features the STEM Complex:  Making Wood Work: Mass Timber in Labs and Life Sciences Buildings


Read more about the building’s design in this article by MSU’s College of Engineering:  STEM Building’s hybrid space is creating hands-on discoveries


I2SL Sustainable Laboratory Award for Lab Buildings and Projects: Adaptive Reuse, Excellence in Decarbonization
U.S. WoodWorks Design Award for Wood in Schools
Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award
Associated General Contractors Build America Grand Award Winner
Associated General Contractors Build Michigan Grand Award Winner
ENR Midwest Best Projects Award of Merit

Michigan State University STEM Complex