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Max Planck Institute

Exploring the Brain: Max Planck Florida Institute Opens

For the first time in its 60-year history, Germany's prestigious Max Planck Society has established an institute in the U.S—a $57M, 100,000SF biomedical research facility on Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) Jupiter, FL campus which also houses Scripps Research Institute and FAU research facilities. The institute plans to advance the world's knowledge of bioimaging by using cutting-edge techniques to study the molecular process.

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects was Prime Architect, with PGAL as Associate Architect. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. served as program manager.

The Institute was funded by $188M from the State of Florida Innovation Incentive Fund and Palm Beach County. Those funds covered both the $57M in construction costs and additional costs relating to fees, sophisticated scientific equipment and staffing. The German non-profit Max Planck Society opened with 80 employees in Jupiter. It is mandated by the funding to have 135 employees by March 2015. It is hoped the institute will be a magnet for the bioscience sector worldwide and lay a new, sustainable foundation for an expanded economic base that will bring high paying jobs to Palm Beach County.

The new institute brings together researchers in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and computational sciences in an integrative research practice that attempts to visualize molecular and physiologic tissue properties with unprecedented specificity and in a noninvasive manner.

The design team was challenged to balance a diverse and complex program while incorporating sustainable features, creating a signature image and meeting budget mandates. LEED Silver Registered, the contemporary facility has a clean, South Florida aesthetic with strong daylighting and lush landscaping.

Interior architecture supports wet and dry bench research, instrumentation labs, computational research, core imaging and microscopy facilities, information technology services, a vivarium, researcher offices and support shops. Scientific facilities are supported by conference rooms, social spaces for staff and researcher interaction, a 100-seat auditorium, lunch room and administrative offices. Drawings were completed utilizing Building Information Modeling.

Founded in 1948, the Max Planck Society operates 80 institutes in Germany and around Europe, with a staff of nearly 13,000 and an additional 12,000 researchers and visiting scientists pioneering scientific research in areas ranging from astronomy to the humanities. Among its achievements, the Max Planck Society has 17 Nobel Laureates and most recently developed the sensor currently being used on the robotic arm on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander.

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