The architect’s project mission was to integrate a new department into the Sherman Fairchild building while creating an environment driven by daylight and air quality.
Office and public space was arranged around the existing fenestration, and the operable windows were refurbished. Interior labs with long occupancy duration were relocated to the building perimeter with access to natural light. Extensive use of interior glazing and strategic spatial arrangements allowed natural light to penetrate deep into the building.
The architect achieved these goals by increasing the building occupancy by 50% while simultaneously creating innovative lab space for both research and academic staff. This design approach employed a novel high density lab layout with areas of open space and zones of support and office space.
To support the vision for the space, shadow studies were conducted, following researchers and making note of individual working needs. As a result of these extensive studies, researchers now feel more connected to the other laboratories; they are less remote and more central to the science community. As such, the openness and transparency of the renovation allows for visual connection across labs and open communication, which minimizes the potential for collision. The natural light shading solutions, in addition to individual task lights, provide flexible lighting solutions to the inhabitants of the Sherman Fairchild building. We focused on strategies which placed these spaces adjacent to the exterior envelope where they could benefit from natural light and views outside. Now, 90% of the occupied spaces have access to daylight and views. 97% of seated spaces have views to the exterior. We believe that successful research environments must meet both the functional needs of science and the behavioral needs of human beings.