University of Alaska Fairbanks


Margaret Murie Life Sciences Building

Fairbanks, Alaska

101,115 GSF / 9,450 m2

Architecture, Lab Planning, Programming


The first new academic building on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks campus in more than 20 years, the Margaret Murie Building is the signature building for the life sciences program. With teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, faculty offices and a 150-seat auditorium, it provides a modern learning and research environment for the field of biology, the university’s largest program. The new facility replaces UAF’s legacy biology facilities with 60 percent overall space efficiency and more than 80 percent year-round utilization of teaching spaces.

The new building features open, flexible and naturally lit lab spaces, which are owned by scientific mission and not by individual researchers, on three floors and linked by a central open staircase. Wet benches line the perimeter of each lab with table space in the middle that can be used for a variety of functions. Lab space is shared rather than reserved for individual researchers. Each high-density prep lab serves two teaching labs, which reduces costly storage space and increases safety by isolating chemical storage from study areas. Support labs contain shared services, including tissue culture, autoclaves, microscopy and histology. An efficient radiant floor system, powered by cogeneration, heats and cools the building.

Related Content

Margaret Murie Building Retrospective
This video documents the construction of the facility from groundbreaking to completion.

Tradeline profiles the payoffs of the Murie Building’s lab flexibility
The new facility was designed to accommodate the University’s boom in graduate students and research grants in the life sciences.