Honorable Mention - Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

The Universities at Shady Grove

Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility
The Universities at Shady Grove - Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility
Jury Comments
““. . . humanizes and gives warmth to a technical project . . . fully embraced biophilic design principles . . . really integrated nature . . . very impressive . . . the responses to sustainability are admirable and well described . . .””


    • Site – 153,959 sq ft; Building – 228,805 gsf / 209,455 asf
    • LEED Platinum
    • Upon entering, the building graciously opens into a welcoming 6-story, light-filled atrium.
    • The atrium’s living wall was part of a biophilic plan to reinforce the connection between the indoor and outdoor environment.
    • The building’s connectivity and biophilic design fosters health and well-being.
    • 87% of the BSE’s occupied spaces have exterior views complemented by natural materials like reclaimed wood, living walls, and water features.
    • The BSE project site replaced an existing 400-space surface parking lot (reducing impervious area), creating a new campus gateway entrance and vibrant new green lawn spaces.
    • The BSE responds to the regional context and campus vernacular.


The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is a unique consortium of nine public universities of the University System
of Maryland offering quality higher education at a single location in Montgomery County. Located near the largest collection of health, bioscience, and information technology companies in Maryland, USG sought to build the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (BSE) Education Facility in part to create accessible pathways to education that could meet the region’s increased demand for scientists, researchers, educators, and other skilled workers.

The building houses academic programs in dentistry, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, biological sciences, electrical engineering, and associated fields with the goal to advance access to interdisciplinary education, research, and training in STEMM. The BSE also supports community outreach and workforce development—ranging from free dental services and COVID vaccination clinics to youth STEM classes and collaborations with nonprofit incubators. The BSE’s diversity of users and uses is reflected in the building’s broad range of dedicated study, research, and teaching spaces, each of which is connected to flexible breakout areas for informal collaboration and inclusive gathering.

BSE’s design helped strengthen the campus master plan and unify the campus. The campus is split in the center by a forested wetland. One primary goal of the BSE and its master plan was to reorganize the campus toward nature and rehabilitate the local wetlands—which the campus’s other buildings essentially ignore. The centerpiece of the BSE is an ecological spine that runs between two wings. This spine frames an atrium that fosters innumerable moments for interdisciplinary collaboration—creating a central living room for the campus that is active day and night. The building was opened visually to the wetlands to engage the natural wetland environs through views, materiality, and circulation. The project also incorporated an elevated boardwalk that weaves through the wetlands, becoming the primary campus corridor, immersing pedestrians into the natural environment.

The addition of the BSE on campus has helped open more doors to excellent and affordable educational opportunities. The BSE provides highly accessible public spaces while supporting a “student-owned” experience. The building’s design incorporates amenities and program spaces that all students can appreciate while on campus, regardless of whether they have classes in the BSE or not. Student and Academic Services Centers, large teaching theatres, open computer labs, café and dining, study spaces and break-out rooms, and magnificent outdoor spaces are available for all students to enjoy.

Project Team

Lake|Flato Architects; Cooper Carry; Research Facilities Design; Affiliated Engineers; Cagley & Associates; Site Resources; Mahan Rykiel Associates