Southern Illinois University

Interdisciplinary Research Building

Originally built in 2005 as swing space for a library renovation, McLafferty is being transformed into a hub of scientific discovery, scholarly inquiry, and creative achievement.

Designed to promote serendipitous meetings and interactions, the curvilinear circulation takes advantage of the building’s clear span by positioning the labs in a non-linear fashion.

The building supports the Fermentation Science Institute and includes a fermentation teaching laboratory. Students produce and analyze alcoholic beverages, fermented foods and cheese and industrial fermentation (energy, materials and pharmaceutical).

Although the research is to be determined, the spaces will be adaptable to a variety of options:

  • Wet labs (biology, chemistry)
  • Dry labs (geology, computer)
  • 2 core instrumentation facilities (imaging, biosafety)
  • Aquaculture (zebrafish)
  • High bay

The laboratories will be built in phases, starting with aquaculture. A variety of tanks and a quarantine room are included to accommodate species which may be incompatible (i.e., mammals, sea turtles). A high-bay receiving area is included, as well as an exterior slab for the life support system (DA tower, filtration systems, etc.).

Much of the configurations come from the science the space is serving. For example, work stations in the imaging core are configured around a central collaboration table with LCD monitors for shared viewing, write-up stations, and other amenities. The inspiration for the layout is found in dynamic covalent bonds, as the benches are arranged to maximize views throughout the space and easy circulation.

HERA has been instrumental in helping us get the most with limited resources. They have been patient, thoughtful and helpful during the entire process. They have been a joy to work with and continue to be proactive and knowledgeable. I look forward to interacting with them more – it gets my creative side cooking.

Jim Garvey, Interim Vice Chancellor for Research


Carbondale, Illinois


65,500 GSF


Programming, laboratory planning, design, equipment planning




Eggemeyer Associates Architects