“Photograph © Jeff Goldberg | Esto”

I just learned from a UW press release that one of my favorite new buildings in Madison, WI, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, has been named 2012 Laboratory of the Year in an international competition sponsored annually by R&D Magazine.

Because this structure is nested between two of Madison’s major traffic arteries and about a 15-minute walk from my house, I watched it’s construction with great interest, explored during its grand opening and often catch a public lecture there.

 I know this building was  designed to encourage private and public scientists to work together, housing twin research institutes: the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and UW-Madison’s public Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

Much of the money to build this facility came from a donation from John and Tashia Morgridge, whose funding was matched by the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the private nonprofit patent and licensing organization for UW-Madison.  Way to go, John and Tashia Morgridge!

It was also designed to foster interaction and collaboration between the scientists lucky enough to be housed in it and to reach out and encourage shared research across campus and beyond, creating bubbling think tanks that can lead to great discoveries.

Town Center

I personally love the gorgeous public space on the main floor they call the Town Center with science demos like the Mesozoic garden,  interactive displays and places to get good, local food and a wonderful central seating area for presentations.

The three research floors above ground and one below are organized as laboratory “pods” – each designed to house up to five principal investigators and their teams.   And there are teaching lab designed and outfitted like the research labs that are used  by faculty and staff from across campus and for K-12 students and learners of all ages who take part in hands-on outreach programs.

Large interior windows open up views between the teaching labs, research areas and the Town Center below.

The building earned LEED Gold certification last year.

If you live in the area, it’s worth a visit.

If you don’t, you may still find yourself benefiting from the research being nurtured here.

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