The Joukowsky Institute re-casts Brown University’s Department of Archaeology as an interdisciplinary center for research and teaching within Rhode Island Hall, a historic Greek Revival building anchoring one corner of College Green. AW’s design restores the beloved building’s exterior and re-animates the interior with a new program and design vocabulary that challenges the notion of archaeology as a conservative and dusty pursuit. The project is both practical and symbolic, providing this new research institute with a contemporary home that is emblematic of campus identity.
The project was undertaken as an emergent initiative aimed at augmenting Brown’s educational culture with a design that facilitates cross-departmental interaction and welcomes faculty and students to the new facility. Essential to our approach was consideration of ways that daylight could be delivered throughout the building, exploring the translucency of wood screens and polycarbonate panels in order to dissolve the boundaries between student and teacher and to encourage discourse.
By deploying these few simple elements in a variety of conditions, the design creates spaces that accommodate multiple needs: reading room overlays active library, graduate studio occupies research floor, lecture hall becomes exhibition gallery becomes informal gathering space. Natural light washes through program areas directly, or is filtered through screens that guide movement through the building, or softly illuminates private offices through translucent walls.
Our team worked collaboratively to prioritize innovative solutions for program implementation and sustainability. We performed in-depth analysis of building envelope and construction means to achieve a highly specialized, cost effective design that synchronizes historic and contemporary details. We employed digital fabrication techniques to customize office systems, partitions, screens, and structure, compressing the construction schedule and reducing cost.
Over its first five years, faculty and student engagement more than tripled, and graduate student enrollment increased six-fold. It is recognized throughout the University as an energized, welcoming environment for academic endeavor that also supports development of the campus community and is certified LEED Gold for New Construction.
Photos by Jane Messinger, Peter Vanderwarker and Warren Jagger