WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Designed by the Washington, DC office of award-winning global architectural and design firm, Perkins+Will, the New Research and Product Development Facility for the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) at Crosspointe Centre, southeast of Richmond, Virginia has opened. 

CCAM is a new model for public-private partnership in research and development between universities and industry, which will promote faster and more cost-effective transition of laboratory discoveries to commercial applications. Established as a non-profit organization, CCAM’s dues-paying industrial members enjoy intellectual property rights resulting from shared research, while at the same time being able to commission proprietary research projects. This business model, the first of its kind in North America, is housed in a new 63,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility, designed to enable coordination and cooperation between manufacturers and Virginia’s top research and teaching universities. Engineering and computational laboratories and a large factory-like high bay space support the main research themes of surface engineering and manufacturing systems. 

The building design is partially the result of extensive research and visits to the Technology Innovation Centre network in the United Kingdom, where similarly structured research collaborations have already proven their value to their associated universities and member companies. The openness and transparency of the interior design supports collaboration among individual projects and also provides a showcase environment for the large number of visitors that are expected to tour the facility on a daily basis. Pervasive natural light, including a large oculus skylight in the lobby, extensive views to the neighboring protected wetlands, and the thoughtful combination of industrial materials throughout the center, are just a few design features that draw people’s attention. Along with ample daylighting, other sustainable design features include on-site water retention, low-emitting materials to improve indoor air quality, energy recovery in the mechanical systems, and panel-level monitoring of power consumption. 

“The CCAM project presented an opportunity to develop a unique architectural and planning solution at the intersection of laboratory and factory, and to make a contribution to the renaissance of high-technology manufacturing in the United States,” said Paul Harney, AIA, LEED AP, Associate Principal at Perkins+Will. 

“The unanimous consensus is that the facility is truly world-class and everyone is thrilled with the way it turned out,” noted Pace Lochte, Director of Regional Business Development and Assistant to the President at the University of Virginia. “The design lets people know that something special is happening inside. The building is the perfect blend of high-tech and industrial.” 

In a March 2012 landmark speech, President Obama unveiled a major new federal initiative, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The speech was delivered at the new Crosspointe factory of Rolls-Royce North America, a founding member of CCAM. During the speech, the President cited CCAM as a model of the type of university-private sector collaboration that NNMI hopes to establish in over a dozen sites around the country. The CCAM collaboration includes the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University and manufacturing companies worldwide, including Canon Virginia Inc., Chromalloy, Newport News Shipbuilding, Rolls-Royce North America, Sandvik Coromant, Siemens, Sulzer Metco, Aerojet, Hermle Machine Company, Mitutoyo, TurboCombustor Technology Inc., Buehler, Cool Clean Technologies, GF AgieCharmilles, and Blaser Swisslube.