Interdisciplinary Research Planning

University of Detroit Mercy
Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Expected Completion
Client Contact
Tammy S. Batcheller University of Detroit Mercy


Located on the lower level of the Life Science Building, this renovation seeks to transform an existing underutilized chemistry lab into a dynamic learning environment for students. The 3,633 sqft renovation divides the once oversized chemistry lab into three distinct spaces; two physics labs and one flexible lounge space. The spaces are connected via rotatable frosted glass partitions allowing for acoustical privacy while creating a sense of connection. When the glass partitions are in the open position, a large presentation space is created for student and faculty gatherings. The classrooms themselves employ a “learn lab” furniture and technology arrangement which ensures that the environment can cater to a variety of teaching and learning styles in the years to come.


Centered on the idea of spawning an open exchange between students and faculty, this 10,000 sqft renovation of an existing biology research floor explores transparency and the display of research as a means for generating serendipitous interactions. The program is comprised of two large biology labs, six flexible single research labs and support spaces as well as eight faculty offices. By grouping many of the support amenities in a central spine, we were able to push visually interesting rooms toward the perimeter circulation. This organization created an interesting progression for students and visitors; a walk through this facility was literally a tour of the latest research being conducted.


The university sought to make a prominent statement through the display of a new chemistry lab and large classroom. Glass fume hoods, mobile science carts and tiered furniture were used in an effort to create an adaptable, ever evolving environment to ensure the classrooms could keep pace with the material being delivered.

Project Overview

IDS was commissioned to provide planning and conceptual design services for Chemistry, Biology and Physics departments at the University of Detroit Mercy. The conceptual designs are intended to describe to prospective donors the shift in pedagogy toward a more interdisciplinary research model among departments, science on display and a higher quality student engagement focus.

Project Team