Talbot Laboratory establishes a new identity for the sciences on campus. Light metal trellises delineate the form of the oval.
A curved island within the lower level corridor separates office areas from the large laboratories. Corners are flooded with natural light and offer areas for small group work.
Generous areas for informal discussion and meeting have been carved out of the primary circulation.
Facing the academic core of campus, both the organic chemistry laboratory and biology laboratory are organized with a large band of glass curtainwall.
Talbot Laboratory, Denison University
Granville, Ohio
This picturesque college campus on the ridge of rolling hills of central Ohio was seriously in need of additional academic space. With few obvious building sites in the campus core, the challenge was to accommodate more than 100,000 gross square feet of new facilities in the neighborhood of the Academic Quadrangle with minimum disruption to its community and its academic schedule. The first step in the process was to update and repair the compromises and deficiencies that had accrued since the Olmsted brothers produced their master plan early in the 20th century.

An outdated 1960s science building and a Student Center that had lost much of its luster marked the northern boundary of the campus core. Parking, service access and dumpsters filled the space behind the buildings before the start of the steep slope toward the fields below. The new Master Plan reinforces the rhythm and integrity of individual quads as the primary orientation of the campus. It also recommends a functional reorganization and expansion of campus circulation to strengthen the internal fabric of campus. The solution suggests the placement of a new 380-car underground parking garage against the north slope of the College Hill, creating nearly four acres of prime real estate at the heart of the campus.

The Talbot Life Sciences Building, designed with Project Kaleidoscope principles, defines the west edge of the Campus Common and forms a newly conceived Science Quad along with Denison’s Physics and Chemistry buildings. The building’s design reflects an interdisciplinary, student-centered and research-centered approach to learning. Laboratories in Talbot are organized around modular planning principles with standardized dimensions for flexibility and a variety of uses. Partitions can be relocated, doors moved, and laboratories expanded into larger or smaller laboratory units with minimum mechanical adjustments.

Modularity is one of the key concepts to an adaptable laboratory HVAC system. The HVAC laboratory system is designed as an assembly of repetitive modules, with each laboratory planning module having supply air diffusers, exhaust grilles, terminal air flow control device, with capability for individual temperature control based on zoning. The arrangement of equipment, ducts, and grilles is repeated throughout the building so that all of these components can easily be located.

Circulation within Talbot is organized to take advantage of the interaction between departments, with primary laboratories and offices along a concourse. Ample display walls and generously sized circulation areas with sitting alcoves encourage discussion and casual interaction outside the labs and offices. Smaller independent research laboratories and vertical circulation anchor the ends of a modified barbell scheme.

The $60 million project was completed in just three years. Although Denison did not pursue LEED certification, sustainable approaches that maximize first cost and operational savings were implemented throughout the design and construction process. The general goal was to implement design and engineering strategies for “the 100 year use” and future flexibility.




63,000 SF


AIA Ohio, Honor Award for Design Excellence


Jeff Goldberg/ESTO