Howard University


Interdisciplinary Research Building Program Management

In 2012 B&D was retained by Howard University for full-service program management for a new Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB), focused on collaborative research and convergence science. By playing a significant role in the 2012 Campus Master Plan, we brought unique insight into how the IRB fit into the broader context of campus redevelopment. In addition to providing facility planning services for several functional areas of the institution, we were responsible for crafting and vetting the Campus Strategic Asset Value Analysis with the senior administration. This narrative document helped to define the institutional vision for campus renewal and prescribed various strategies to maximize the value of real assets. The planning effort also included a comprehensive assessment of the university’s research functions and facilities to better equip the institutional decision-making process regarding research operations. Additionally, the effort assisted the institution in formulating a space migration and backfill plan to maximize the efficiency of space utilization and minimize adverse impacts to researchers and their ongoing pursuits.

The state-of-the-art building was developed to attract Principal Investigators interested in research, development, and prototype manufacturing both in the public and private sector. The IRB would enhance the university’s status as a preeminent RU/H (Research Universities / High Research Activity), capable of producing high-quality, impactful work by attracting the brightest research faculty and students. Additionally, the facility was specifically designed to encourage interdisciplinary research with “open door policy” office blocks, wall-talkers (whiteboard surfaces on many walls), and windows into lab spaces from corridors for observers. Moreover, the university worked closely with the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and community groups early on to get community buy-in and approval in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Serving as a gateway to the campus, the new building’s transparency in design—especially on the ground level—would serve as a structural invitation to the community. The $70 million, 81,670 GSF building opened in 2015.