Wayne State University Danto Engineering Center

Detroit, Michigan


  • Wayne State University

    Project Size

  • 82,000 SF


As Michigan’s only urban research university, Wayne State University sought to expand its College of Engineering to promote R+D activities in high-promise industry growth sectors. The Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center was envisioned not just as a physical expansion to the College but also as a training ground for the future engineering workforce and a vehicle for economic development in the region.

The Ghafari team collaborated with the university to understand their vision of a high-performing research facility where engineering students could work with a broad spectrum of scientists to advance emergent sector technologies.


A sleek, modern window into the world of advanced research and technology, the three-story, 82,000 SF center features modular labs, teaming spaces and display areas. The facility is connected to the existing College of Engineering building in the densely developed urban environment of the university’s campus.

The center houses a total of 50,000 SF of laboratory space, including advanced propulsion, nanotechnology, urban infrastructure research and team-based student project labs. A 15,000 SF Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems area hosts a Class 1,000 clean room for studies in disease detection, micro-control technologies, pathogen detection and environmental sensing. Our mechanical design includes a state-of-the-art laboratory ventilation system and special environmental systems to serve these research spaces.

Through the EDC, the College of Engineering has a renewed sense of purpose as it strives to build an indigenous skilled workforce and the jobs that will support it.

Ralph Kummler
Former Wayne State College of Engineering Dean

We planned and designed the center to be consistent with the surrounding urban land use and density. The LEED Silver-certified building employs energy-conserving HVAC systems and water-saving fixtures, and has a high-performance skin with limited glazing.


Working side-by-side with the university, we designed an educational environment that fosters collaboration and innovation, enabling the next generation of engineers to both advance their skillsets and effect change in their chosen fields and the greater economy.