Pathways weave around the building, leading to three primary entrances on two levels, creating a campus “crossroads.”
An open double-height space connects two floors, with a café overlooking a monumental stair that links these prime public levels. To increase social interaction, computer classrooms and a lecture hall are directly adjacent to public spaces; public corridors, inside and out, are furnished with seating and study tables.
Along a primary public corridor are large windows into the conservatory greenhouse, the cold water fish hatcheries and meat cutting lab. This transparency, along with exhibits illustrating the current work of each department adjacent the elevator on each floor of the lab tower, promote interdepartmental collaboration, mutual respect and shared identity for students and faculty alike.
To express the duality of the program – the organic nature of agriculture and plant sciences and the industrial character of production and processing – the building’s materiality combines natural and industrial finishes, such as concrete flooring and corrugated steel on the exterior.
In contrast to the rural campus, the exterior highlights this juxtaposition while the wall assemblies are designed for very high thermal values, advancing the project’s sustainability goals.