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FSU Chemical Sciences Building - Structure Tone
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FSU Chemical Sciences Building

Five floors and 168,000sf, Florida State University’s state-of-the-art chemistry building features a penthouse, laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices for multiple scientific disciplines. The building is shared by about 250 chemists, biochemists, physicists, and biologists researching cutting-edge advancements in each field. The new building also houses two nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) images to assist the scientists in their work.

The first-floor holds a 140-seat auditorium and high-tech conference rooms. The second through fourth floors are designed for laboratory space and the fifth floor is devoted to synthetic organic chemistry. With a heavy focus on lab space, the building required 145 low-flow fume hoods to limit researchers’ exposure to hazardous fumes.

There are six cold storage rooms for chemicals, which include depressed slabs for insulated floors. The building is “hardened,” meaning it’s designed to withstand wind speeds up to 110 mph and includes a 1750KW diesel generator for backup power. This is critical to keep the cold storage areas cool during a power loss to keep toxic fumes out from the fume hoods. There are stainless steel fume hoods to keep organic materials from corroding the ductwork. The structure has added steel and concrete to eliminate vibration, which is critical to the use of this facility. The team took special care to ensure any metals were carefully installed. Moving metals, like the elevator, for instance, couldn’t be placed close to the NMR areas. Perforated metal ceiling tiles were installed in the lab area, which allows air to seep through instead of blowing through. All 165 labs are 100% outside fresh air and are equipped with chilled water, pure nitrogen gas, potable and nonpotable water, compressed air, natural gas, steam, vacuum pressure, and distilled water.

The mechanical system is a chilled water system with air handlers mounted in the penthouse and fed by FSU campus-supplied chilled water.

©Michael Verzella


Florida State University


Tallahassee, FL




O'Brien Atkins Architects / JRA Architects

Owner's Rep

Florida State University

Contract Type


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