Wayne State University STEM Innovation Center

Designed by NORR and Fishbeck, the new STEM Innovation Center at Wayne State University transforms what was a dated, seven-storey library into a state of the art, 116,467 sq. ft interdisciplinary teaching and learning hub. The building pushes the boundaries of what classrooms, laboratories, and collaboration spaces look like and function—aiding the university’s public research focus, while preparing students for successful careers in STEM industries.


As learning spaces evolve from eyes-front classrooms into multifunctional workspaces, their lighting approach must support the various activities these environments demand. Flexibility, comfort, and performance are critical for productivity and well-being, while energy efficiency is required to lessen operational costs and contribute to a lower energy impact campus. 


Working closely with Gasser Bush Associates team of lighting experts, the designers selected a range of Fluxwerx families  to support the project’s design and performance goals.


View suspended linear fixtures blend seamlessly with the Innovation Center's classrooms, technology-rich labs, and seminar spaces. Appearing like a floating fenestration that remains transparent when lit, View provides exceptionally low glare, with the ability to adjust the light to suit the needs of the space.


Balancing minimalist architectural form with occupant comfort, the suspended pendant Profile Spoke is used across the facility’s collaboration spaces—where students can gather, study, and meet faculty instructors outside of class. Offering a comfortable visual appearance and superior efficacy, Profile Spoke’s light distribution can be adjusted to suit user needs, with lumen maintenance of L70 > 200,000h. 


For the building’s general areas, the linear LED recessed luminaire Notch adds texture, depth, and detail to the ceiling plane, with low brightness and high performance to balance visual comfort with operational value. The unique hollow aperture design of Notch echoes the finely detailed architecture of Profile Spoke, delivering visual design continuity. Perfect for drywall ceilings with exposed vertical fasciae, Notch 2 with its Dado endcaps made it possible to extend the fixtures to the edge of drywall soffits, creating an illuminated uninterrupted cavity of lighting in the ceilings.


The holistic design approach resulted in a 30% increase in occupant lighting and thermal control installation across the Innovation Center, along with 16% energy savings. Surpassing its LEED Silver target, the project ultimately achieved LEED Gold—the second-highest rating in the LEED system. Through architecture, engineering and construction, the design supports materials and systems that provide current and long-term operational efficiencies. The design transformed the former underutilized building to an enhanced purpose that supports education, research and careers, with the objective of putting graduating students at the forefront of technological advances and scientific discoveries in the STEM-based workforce.


To find out how Fluxwerx luminaries can transform your education spaces, visit our dedicated Education page.

View More + View Less -
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Market: Education
Client: Wayne State University
Architecture: NORR, Fishbeck
Lighting Design: Gasser Bush Associates
Photography: Justin Maconochie Photography
Sustainability: LEED® Gold Certified
Construction: Granger Construction