Argonne National Labs - APCF

The APCF (Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility) is home to several research groups and provides highly flexible laboratory and office space. The building has research in structural biology, protein functional characterization and synthesis of unique protein activities. These laboratory activities are supported by common core facilities. The building’s form is a direct reflection of the composite research programs it houses.

2015 // Merit Award - New Construction Suburbs

LOCATION: Argonne, Illinois
SIZE: 50,000 Sq/Ft
TYPE: Science + Technology

2 years

Tim Tracey, AIA // Carolina Lopez, AIA // Adam Riddle


This was an incredibly challenging project on so many levels. First, the program is incredibly technical and specialized. We relied on the scientists to provide the level of detail that was required to meet their programmatic needs, however, they were extremely busy with their research. Finding time to meet meant, every meeting was scheduled down to the minute, all the questions prepared ahead of time and each meeting meant a list of goals we'd need to accomplish in order to keep the project moving along.

What came to be is a highly specific, custom building that fits the users needs perfectly. You could never replicate the building for another program or another user. It was meant for these scientist, doing their specific research. That may seem weird, but these were some of the most well-known scientists in the world. It was a pleasure meeting them and getting even a small insight into how they were, and continue to change the world.


The building is a one-story steel structure split in half by a central spine hallway. On one side is the office area for documentation and administrative activities, while the other half of the building was strictly the research and laboratory area. Although the two have different programs and requirements, they are intended to be collaborative and interdependent, allowing scientists to move between the two spaces with ease.

The final outcome in a new home for the Advanced Protein Characterization Facility (APCF), one of the most cutting-edge research facilities in the US. Both Structural Biology and Protein Crystallization can advance their technological research of protein science experiments without being limited by the infrastructure capabilities. The new highly specialized research space is specifically devoted to characterization of the most challenging classes of proteins and assemblies work.