Keeping it Green
Sustainability was a driving factor from conceptual design through implementation. Consistent with their commitment to teaching social responsibility, the College encouraged the design team to make visible sustainability the muse of the design. A Green Team was formed to guide the creation and implementation of a green master plan, resulting in a LEED certification, one of the first lab buildings to qualify at this level.
The green strategy includes many features such as a zero runoff environment to protect the adjacent woods from erosion by harvesting rainwater in the huge, iconic V-shaped roofs, directing water back into the earth through waterfalls, stone water channels, re-absorption pools, and infiltration beds with excess stored underground for irrigation.
Rather than demolish and replace the outdated wet lab buildings, the design reuses the space for "dry" labs for physics and astronomy, math and statistics, and computer science. Local and recycled materials are featured throughout the building, and gauges illustrating current utilization of energy and other utilities are a focal point in the snack bar area.
The science center also pioneered the use of fritted glass for curtainwall glazing to prevent bird collision – an important innovation that has received worldwide media coverage as a model for sustainable design, including the sustainable design guidelines for the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.