About the Biological Sciences Building

A new U-M College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts science building

The Biological Sciences Building (BSB) revolutionizes how we teach, learn and research biology. The building helps us to tell the story of natural history and biology to the general public.

The $261 million project will bring together the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as well as the museums of Natural History, Paleontology and Zoology.

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  • The new BSB allows us to combine science, research and community-building. This space opens the door for innovation, learning and collaboration to take place.

  • We are excited with the opening of the new BSB and anticipate that this will be a chance to connect faculty, students, staff and the greater Ann Arbor community.

  • The BSB is not purely a biology building. It serves different purposes for different audiences.

    • It houses classrooms for learning and teaching (students), labs and shared spaces for researching (students and faculty) and museums (general public, faculty and students)

    • While the Museum of Natural History is the public-facing museum, the BSB also houses two research-centric museums—the museums of Zoology and Paleontology.

    • The BSB opened for classes in fall 2018. The museum is located in and throughout the BSB and opened to the public in April 2019.

  • LSA is committed to transforming the way science is conducted and communicated to the world. 

    • Understanding only comes with exposure and awareness, and this applies to science as well. The new BSB serves as an opportunity for LSA and U-M faculty to bring forth their research to the public.

    • Largest team-based learning facility in LSA

    • With state-of-the-art laboratories and access to cutting-edge research, the building shows how LSA/U-M is leading the lane in science in the 21st century.


Square footage: 312,000

Total cost: $261M

Number of classrooms: 4 (There is 1 Team-Based Learning Classroom that seats 138 people, a Planetarium & Dome Theater and 2 specimen-based classrooms that seat 30 people)

Number of labs: 84

Unique technology included: The Museum of Natural History’s Planetarium & Dome Theater features new technology which will take you to the stars, underwater and inside the body. The space can also be used for events, lectures and more.

Unique classrooms/lecture halls/rooms within the building to note: Once open in April 2019, the Museum of Natural History will wind its way through the building and allows the public to view activities in some of the BSB visible labs. The building includes a state-of-the-art Plant Growth Facilities and Imaging Core, a cafe and one of the largest university aquatics facilities in the country. LSA placed a strong emphasis on open spaces and collaboration—that includes shared facilities, visible labs, interactive spaces and shared linear equipment rooms.

What is the exterior made out of: The exterior is made out of terra cotta, which is an oven-fired clay ceramic. There was a total of 38,500 individual strips of terra cotta installed on the building’s exterior. The individual strips on each level are 16-foot tall baguettes imported from Germany, and they catch light differently throughout the day.

Were energy efficiency plans taken into consideration: Yes, we incorporated energy conservation into the building design through energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights, highly efficient chilled beam cooling, the use of occupancy sensors to control lights, heating and cooling when spaces are not in use.