The new Discovery Hall science building accommodates the increasing program and enrollment capacity of the University. It serves as an academic hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and houses classrooms and laboratories for chemistry, life science, physics, electrical engineering, software development and geographic information system.
As part of the design theme, “Science and Sustainability on Display,” the building includes scientific displays, art, and artifacts, as well as interactive dashboards that show energy use and sustainable building performance. Prominent places for collaboration and interdisciplinary learning are integrated throughout, as well as viewing windows into laboratory classrooms and prep labs.
Sustainability is a particular focus of the University and the design team. The building is oriented east-west for optimal solar control with the use of daylight, sunshades and light controls. Operable windows in the classrooms and offices increase occupants’ control. Chilled beams and displacement ventilation will further decrease energy use. One of the building’s most beautiful features is the celebration of the site’s stormwater, which can be seen and heard through a water runnel that cascades along the north side of the building, culminating in a water feature in the plaza and finalizing its journey in the wetlands.