University of California, Berkeley


Energy Biosciences Building

“This new structure and its outstanding facilities will serve to enable and accelerate the innovations that we expect will come in the next few years.”

—Chris Somerville, EBI Director


Addressing some of humanity's most complex problems requires a serious facility and program promoting successful collaboration among various disciplines. Supported by a $500 million, 10-year award from BP, the Energy Biosciences Institute embodies a vast interdisciplinary research organization of 300-plus scientists dedicated to using biological tools and methods to solve global energy challenges and mitigate climate change.

SmithGroupJJR's design team worked with stakeholders and occupants to develop a flexible laboratory and office plan, accommodating the research and the work cultures of each discipline. The facility supports multidisciplinary teams dispersed throughout greenhouses, warm and cold rooms, shared instrumentation spaces, and state-of-the-art molecular biology, microbial biology, fermentation, and chemical separation laboratories.

Common spaces provide connective support, keeping the focus on interaction in their welcoming lounges and informal meeting zones, which share subtle aesthetic elements with the lab facilities, such as colorful translucencies. Its LEED Gold design delivers on the facility's stated mission, too.

Related Content

Architectural Record Spotlights UC Berkeley Energy Biosciences Building
The publication features the sophisticated controls within EBB that help keep energy use in check while supporting critical research focused on climate change.

Energy Biosciences Expanded Project Profile
Profile includes project mission, facts, approach, and sustainability tactics.

Energy Biosciences Institute
The EBI was created to apply advanced biological knowledge to the area of bioenergy development.