The complex knits together old and new, traditional and modern, open and closed.
The scale and materials of the new buildings complement the existing to create a cohesive complex.
A bridge links the biology and chemistry buildings.
Stairwells are animated by overscaled windows. Glass prisms embedded in the fenestration create changing patterns.
Laboratories were designed for flexibility.
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Mathematics and Science Complex, Kenyon College
Gambier, Ohio
This pristine liberal arts college campus features a collection of primarily Gothic buildings, modeled after European churches and colleges. The original campus plan is centered on a mile-long walk lined with stately buildings that refer to the Gothic, Romanesque and Neo-Classical traditions. In the last major campus expansion of the 1960s and ‘70s, several buildings that clashed with tradition were erected on the campus, including a chemistry building that blocked the main artery to the campus.

The original program called for a single new structure to house the sciences. In a departure, the solution suggested demolition of a 1962 chemistry building, together with an additional 75,000 square feet of new construction and renovation and replanning of the rest of the sciences complex in existing buildings to form a new sciences quadrangle that rebalances the rhythm of buildings and open space in this part of the campus.

The interdisciplinary nature of science today prescribes interconnections, both physical and programmatic, between different disciplines. Connecting the new science facilities to the existing 1968 biology building, and placing a state-of-the-art science complex into a historic campus proved to be an interesting challenge in terms of campus planning and programming.

The two new science complex buildings, housing chemistry and math/physics, are connected to each other and the existing biology building via glass-enclosed bridges and underground passages. The fourth science building, the historic Mather Hall, was renovated to house psychology. The academic Gothic-style building informs the aesthetics of the new chemistry, and math/physics buildings, and the biology addition. It also completes the new science quadrangle, which is both the physical and symbolic heart of the science complex.

The quadrangle of small buildings is more in scale with the historic architecture of the campus. To respect the tension between nature and buildings, the interiors are light and airy, with white limestone floors, wide curved stairwells, and study rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows. The exterior facades are united by the use of sandstone from the same quarry.

The new laboratory spaces are based on a modular design that enables the school to expand, contract and renovate a laboratory space without interrupting the use of other laboratories in the building. The flexibility of this modular design creates long-term adaptability for both pedagogical and scientific advances.

COMPLETION

2001

SIZE

75,000 SF New Construction
24,000 SF Renovation

AWARDS

Boston Society of Architects, Higher Education Facilities Design Award

PHOTOGRAPHY

Jonathan Hillyer
Brad Feinknopf

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