Bakar BioEnginuity Hub

Life Science | Pharma
94, 081 sq. ft.
Berkeley, CA

Bakar BioEnginuity Hub transformed a historical building, the former Berkeley Art Museum, into a modern coworking life science lab that meets LEED Gold standards. With a new glass-fronted addition, the design represents Bakar’s modernization efforts while still celebrating the facility’s original brutalist style. The project aimed to provide well-equipped, cost-efficient space for local graduate students, young startups, and biotech businesses — effectively eliminating the gap between them and promoting cooperation.

The new life science incubator features private labs for companies needing more dedicated space, open office areas, collaboration spaces, conference rooms, student auditoriums, and public outdoor spaces. When working on this renovation project, VEC’s most challenging task was to design power models that would satisfy all the life science requirements while keeping the building’s irregular geometry and historical character in mind.

As a reliable BIM & VDC partner, we were able to provide appropriate BIM deliverables and ensure high-quality coordination.

VEC specialists worked on this 94,081- square-foot facility in 2021, collaborating with Plant Construction, the general contractor, and other contractors, particularly electrical. The scope of our services included power, lighting, and telecom systems modeling. Our 3D models were constantly integrated into a federal model, an approach that allowed all stakeholders to understand the situation better and detect clashes in the early stages. Our system was vital in the success of the build, given the building's peculiarities.

Since the facility is almost all concrete, upgrading power systems was a challenge, especially designing a new modern lighting system. The challenge stemmed from the critical need to minimize the necessary cutting of the existing structure to remain true to the building’s historic facade. VEC’s expert team ensured the robust lighting focused on the building's character-defining features, while meeting all the requirements related to various spaces within the hub and ensuring they aesthetically aligned to the overall vision.

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Our experienced team contributed to making the facility well-suited for enterprise and student labs while preserving its historical importance. Workspaces and other common areas contain materials contrasting and complementing the building’s original structure and providing a welcoming environment for scientific activities.
Creating first-class 3D models of power, lighting, and telecom systems allowed VEC to become an integral part of the life science project that is now considered a Berkeley designated landmark.
Through our BIM & VDC services, VEC helped other contractors address potential issues like water intrusion and build efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing infrastructure.
The facility has achieved low energy use intensity (EUI) and ensured operational carbon neutrality.