Lafayette College Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center
Project site: Previously developed land
Building program type(s): Education - college/university (campus-level)
This building is the largest single investment by Lafayette College to date and was constructed concurrently with a 20% increase in the campus student population. The existing campus library already does not provide adequate and attractive student study space, so the new science center had to serve as more than a biology and computer science building. Despite its location, tucked away in the corner of an existing courtyard, the building was charged with providing robust spaces for science and a welcoming campus-wide destination. The solution was to create vibrant spaces of varying sizes to attract the entire campus community to meet and study. Upon opening in 2019, students immediately flooded the building and quickly dug into meaningful discussions and interactions in the variety of open and closed study spaces. The early months of operation have seen a constant bustle of both science, arts, and humanities students alike using the building at all hours.The overarching theme for this project can be considered “creating more with less”:
- More exciting science and campus space in a very compact building on a very constrained site.
- More teaching and research in less lab space through efficient sizing and layouts.
- More spatial and experiential richness with a very modest budget.
- More architectural impact with remarkably limited frontage on campus.
- More inspired study and gathering space in a surprisingly small atrium.
- More purposeful sense of space with fewer finishes and “raw” aesthetic.
- More emphasis on ROI-driven performance with less on visible sustainable expression.
Consciously subtle in its portrayal of sustainability, this LEED Platinum building is confidently restrained, beautiful, and high performance. It has set the bar for sustainable building on campus, catapulting the college toward the president’s pledge of carbon neutrality by 2035.