2015 Design Award
Brouder Science Center,
Columbia College, Columbia, Missouri
Architect: Simon Oswald Architecture
General Contractor: Reinhardt/Wilson, A Joint Venture
Photographer: Notley Hawkins, AIA
Columbia College engaged the project team to design a new science building as the flagship facility of their academic program. The project included teaching labs for the physical sciences and an active learning lab for the nursing program, general classrooms and a performance/lecture hall. Designed to provide an architectural bridge between the fabric of the original 19th century campus and the expansion to a contemporary, collaborative North Campus, this project sets the aesthetic cornerstone of the College’s Master Plan for an internal "academic quad" at the heart of the campus.
To facilitate this visual connection to the historic campus, brick and limestone anchor the main wings of the building forming a contexturally sensitive fabric for the façade. Walls rise to offset, gabled roofs to provide concomitant roof lines with the adjacent buildings and enclose the mechanical penthouses serving the labs. Glass and metal entrances, conference rooms and interaction spaces are expressed at the junctures between the more historic forms, providing opportunities for strong, visual connections to the surrounding campus. The atrium and main corridors incorporate translucent clerestory and skylight glazing set against interior stone and brick textures to fill the interior spaces with subtle patterns of natural light. The lecture hall is an acoustically flexible and balanced space allowing for musical performances, classroom lectures, guest lectures, and movie viewings.
The main functional challenge required meeting the technical requirements of the teaching laboratories while providing flexibility for future growth. The laboratory spaces are laid out utilizing a repeating module size creating flexibility in the future. Mixed into the rigid, modular spaces are punctuations of light-filled niches opening the building to the surrounding campus, providing a visual break and areas for collaborative interaction to balance the design.