The building integrates fully mediated classrooms, laboratories, computer commons and faculty offices supporting Astronomy, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Geology and Physics.
Located on a sixties era community college campus, the new Physical Sciences Building is inspired by the existing vocabulary of the campus and consequently is organized to maximize the use of exterior circulation and access to natural light. The project is open planning for views and daylight in all areas of the building. Indirect lighting is designed for heavy computer use areas. The telecommunications/data infrastructure has been designed to support change and growth in the future as technology needs change.
The contrast of wall form masses against an arcaded columnar walkway gives the existing campus its collegial feel. These elements are used in the design of the new building in an interpretive way: responding to color, form and texture with the materials intrinsic in the new building. The extension of the steel roof structure provides shade and weather protection for the lab entries, the braced roof edge recalls the form of the pedestal columns. This is contrasted against the large sloping wall planes, which recall the tapered masses used throughout the existing campus.
The building is organized to maximize the use of exterior circulation and access to natural light. Daylit perimeter labs flank the lab prep and service core, allowing for clear separation of student and staff circulation. The student commons / faculty offices serve as the central hub of the building, faculty offices are organized in a series of volumes within this open day-lit area adjacent to the student study areas and lecture halls. Display and exhibits occupy this area to encourage student and faculty interaction. This support zone also serves as the distribution core for utilities to each of the labs fed from mechanical and electrical rooms at the East and West ends of the building. Separation of Chemistry labs permits the optimization of the air handling and lab services for each wing. Island lab benches are served accessible underground trenches eliminating pipe drops and overhead utilities in the labs.
Exposed concrete tilt slab and masonry walls are used in combination with ground concrete floors and exposed steel structure to express the tectonic function of the building. Against these hard materials plays the extensive use of natural maple throughout the building. Mechanical/electrical service modules are enclosed in galvanized steel siding illustrating their mechanical nature. Ductwork, conduits and piping are all organized and exposed to delineate their function to the building users.