Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, Vassar College, Integrated Science Commons

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Southeast Exterior © Richard Barnes

Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, Vassar College, Integrated Science Commons

The newly completed Integrated Science Commons redefines the identity of the sciences, establishing a coherent science precinct on Vassar’s arcadian campus. Its focus is the Bridge Building, which is a transformative connector, physically connecting the sciences and the Vassar community with the surrounding wetlands.

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Interior Cafe © Richard Barnes

As architects we think about how people experience our buildings. It is important to engage and propel the user along a journey. The curvilinear design creates a sense of discovery as the views unfold – both in to the sciences and out to the landscape.

Richard Olcott, Design Partner

An outgrowth of a programming and needs analysis of all Science Departments at the College, the project consolidates scientific disciplines that had previously been dispersed in facilities across campus.

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Southeast Exterior Detail © Lrc Group Copy

The two-story curved form of the new building meanders through the woods, seamlessly integrated with the natural landscape, scale and campus aesthetic of the College. Its curved interior passageway provides panoramic views of the natural landscape below, while creating a central corridor for student activity.

It is a conduit, drawing students through it and providing an efficient route between the campus core and remote parking. 

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Raymond Avenue Entrance © Richard Barnes

The Bridge building straddles the surrounding wetlands, with two concrete piers on either side of Fonteyn Kill stream supporting a truss which spans the ravine. In turn, the floors of the building are hung, creating a lightweight and open structure, thereby minimizing the building’s impact on the natural landscape underneath.

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Detail Southeast Exterior © Richard Barnes
Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Northwest Elevation  © Ennead Architects Copy
Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Exterior© Richard Barnes
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Clad in fiber cement and stone, the building’s façade is inspired by the dense, tree-lined landscape. The Bridge incorporates a number of innovative façade features designed to minimize bird collisions, including a fritted glass curtainwall and largest application of Ornilux glass in the United States to date.

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Interior View Bird Friendly Glass Frit View To Trees © Ennead Architects
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Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Interior Lobby © Richard Barnes

New facilities center on multi-disciplinary laboratories and program suites to foster collaboration between departments, researchers and students from different fields of study. In addition, sustainable design elements encourage the science departments to use the building as a didactic research and teaching tool.

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0717 Vassar Team

Completing the Integrated Science Commons, the historic New England and Sanders Physics, which house offices, classrooms and dry labs, have been completely renovated. Olmsted Hall for Biological Sciences, which houses the Biology Department, shared classrooms and a vivarium, has been partially renovated.

Bridge For Laboratory Sciences Terrace At Dusk © Richard Barnes

Details

Year
2016
Location
Poughkeepsie, NY
Size
157,000 GSF
Program
Laboratories, Classrooms, Offices, Administration Spaces, Lecture Halls, Shared Public Spaces, Café
LEED Silver (pursuing)

Team

Design Partner
Richard Olcott
Management Partners
Timothy Hartung, V. Guy Maxwell
Project Designer
Kate Mann
Project Architect
Todd Walbourn
Project Architect, New England and Sanders
Theresa O'Leary
Interiors
Charmian Place
Technical Director
Kathleen Kulpa
Design Team
Christina Ciardullo, Edgar Jimenez, Hiroko Nakatani, Tom Offord, Yong Roh, Suzanne Troiano, Constance Vale, Hans Walter, Desiree Wong

Press

Consultants

Structural
Severud Associates
MEP
Vanderweil Engineers
Laboratory
Jacobs Consultancy, GPR Planners Collaborative
Landscape
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Sustainability
BuroHappold Engineering
Lighting
Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design, Inc.
Graphics
Poulin + Morris, Inc.
Geotechnical Engineer
Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc.
Energy Model
ads ENGINEERS
AV/Telecom/Acoustics/Security
Shen Milsom & Wilke
Envelope Rehabilitation
CVM Engineers
Civil/Survey
LRC Group
Curtainwall
Heintges & Associates
Cost Estimating
Daniel O'Connell's Sons, M. T. Peters & Associates Inc., Wolf & Company, P.C.
Life Safety
Hughes Associates, Inc.
Specifications
Robert Schwartz & Associates
Elevator
Iros Elevator Design Services, Inc.
Food Service
Romano Gatland
Construction Manager
Daniel O'Connell's Sons
Photography
Karl Rabe/Vassar College, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Richard Barnes