Bass Biology Building, Stanford University

Palo Alto, CA
With the realization of the Biology Research Building, new meaningful adjacencies abound.

Bass Biology Building encourages a collision of ideas among students and educators from areas as diverse as ecology and evolution to molecular and cellular biology.

Laying out Fibonacci and Fractal Patterns

Diagram of Chaos Patterns in Nature

Sketch for Emergence of Complexity Concept

A new hypothesis for design and collaboration is unfolding at Stanford University’s Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Biology Research Building. Knot’s contribution to the Bass Biology demonstrates our designers’ openness and dedication to the evolution of design in wayfinding and storytelling.

The Bass Biology Research Building allows biology faculty and students — who once were dispersed around Stanford’s campus — to work and socialize in a shared environment designed to foster breakthroughs and new ways of thinking about the life sciences. The building encourages a collision of ideas among students and educators from areas as diverse as ecology and evolution to molecular and cellular biology, and promotes new channels for scientific discovery. Knot designers, working with a wide range of stakeholder groups, were integral to creating a one-of-a-kind interactive art piece installed over the entrance to the Bass Biology Research Building. Titled “Morphogenesis”, the 32-foot tall installation displays digital media controlled by a touch screen panel that showcases interactive art and biological patterns, and allows users to experience a magical connection with the structure. Symbolic of the work inside the Bass Biology Research Building, Morphogenesis is an ever-evolving, co-mingling of ideas and scientific inspiration. Knot’s team collaborated on developing code language to create the graphics displayed on Morphogenesis. With the realization and completion of the Bass Biology Research Building, new meaningful adjacencies abound; the building is a cornerstone for a new quad that brings disciplines of life sciences close to the university’s School of Medicine, as well as other Stanford departments such as computer science, statistics and engineering. Knot’s innovative contributions to the Bass Biology Research Building are fostering the next evolution in the quest to improve the human condition through integrating the disciplines of life sciences.

Knot’s close collaboration with a wide range of stakeholder groups was an essential element to the successful design expressed in the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Biology Research Building.

Tasked with telling stories of science in a non-literal, abstract way, Knot’s design team was given broad artistic license to explore multiple themes and variations. A design-build project, the Bass Biology Research Building required partnerships with contractors to explore many challenges behind the installation of Morphogenesis, and other essential artwork and wayfinding in the building. Stanford’s highly secure network required complex planning with subcontractors to bring Morphogenesis to life.

The building blocks for Knot’s design originated with our team’s thorough understanding of the organizing framework and architectural elements of the building’s design. From researching molecular imagery to diving into multi-cellular organisms, Knot left no stone unturned in this unique collaboration. Stanford’s support and enthusiasm for generating ground-breaking design gave the team freedom to explore themes such as “Patterns in Nature,” which became the cornerstone for Knot’s design solutions. Multiple workshops and a collaborative, integrated approach to finding solutions yielded a graphics program for Bass Biology Research Building that creates identity and context to empower all who learn and work in this unique structure.

Knot was given broad artistic license to explore multiple themes and variations.
Size
134,500 sq ft
Cost
$107 million
Owner
Stanford University
Architects
Ennead Architects and Flad Architects
“This new building brings together people in a lot of different areas who have deep expertise, which we ought to mix up and fuse to make advances in new domains.”

—Gretchen C. Daily, Stanford University, Director, Center for Conservation Biology, Bing Professor of Environmental Science, Department of Biology Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
Photography Credits: Gabe Border