Developed to attract world-class scientists and support sensitive advanced diagnostics equipment, the three-story, 100,000-square-foot Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (Jupiter, Fla.) is one of very few LEED Gold-certified life sciences research facilities in the world. It’s the first non-European institute for the Max Planck Society, the 60-year-old global scientific research organization based in Munich, Germany. Through basic research, the Florida Institute’s scientists focus on the nervous system, with the goal of improving research diagnostics and treatments for brain disorders.  

The design team consisted of a partnership between ZGF Architects and PGAL Architects; Jones Lang LaSalle provided program management. The Weitz Co. and DPR Construction managed the construction.

The floor plan is designed to accommodate evolving research interests and future mission change. It provides nearly 57,600 square feet of laboratory space to house wet and dry bench research, bio-imaging, and laser microscopy, along with facilities for instrumentation labs, computational research, core imaging, laser microscopy, information technology services, and administration. 

The Institute’s three distinct research wings support specialized research and diagnostic procedures and comply with critical safety regulations. For example, imaging rooms have stiff floors with vibration isolation to enable sensitive technologies.

To foster productivity and collaboration, the building includes conference rooms, a research library, a 100-seat auditorium, lounges, and administration offices located around a central atrium lobby that connects all three stories of the building. Each level is dedicated to a specific area of research, with unassigned laboratories available for visiting researchers. Outdoor elements include a terrace, outdoor seating, a 230-space surface parking lot, and pedestrian-friendly pathways.

The building combines the highly technical specifications of a research facility with the sustainability features required for LEED NC 2.2 Gold certification. Its energy consumption plan not only meets the requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED accreditation program, but also the laboratory-specific recommendations from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lab 21 environmental performance criteria. Air-conditioning zoning reduces energy loads, while external sunshades provide ample daylight while minimizing heat and glare. State-of-the-art energy recovery wheels capture usable energy from building exhaust. Drought-tolerant native species are used for landscaping, and irrigation is provided by a municipal reclaimed water system.