Facility Focus: Academic Buildings

1. A Beacon in the Night

The Agnar Pytte Center for Science Education and Research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland consists of the redesign of the science facilities for the Biology and Chemistry Departments. The key to this project involved developing new physical identities for the Biology and Chemistry Departments by combining two disparate buildings into one science center.

The project site is situated on the southern part of the campus. It is bordered by University Hospitals to the east across Adelbert Road, laboratory buildings for the Physics and Engineering Departments to the west, and Adelbert Hall to the North. The two existing buildings involved are Biology Hall and Millis Hall. Millis Hall was built in 1963 and originally housed the Departments of Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Biology Hall was built in 1897 as the first home for the Biology Department.

The project involved several critical issues.

- The upgrade of Millis Hall to current laboratory standards, including an overhaul of the mechanical infrastructure to allow for 162 fume hoods.

- The replacement of the curtainwall cladding on Millis Hall with new limestone cladding and punched windows.

- The construction of Clapp Hall to house an auditorium, classroom and administrative functions. This building is designed to complement the scale and materials of Biology Hall.

- Biology Hall was upgraded, returning it to its original open and inviting ambiance.

The Hovorka Atrium serves as a common entry and circulation point to organizing and unifying the Department of Biology and Chemistry and to strengthen the campus edge.

The $33-million project was completed by Cleveland-based Collins Gordon Bostwick Architects.

2. Making a Grand Entrance

From its founding in 1887 by Father Joseph Cataldo, S.J., as a frontier boarding school for boys, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., has established a unique identity. Named for the Jesuit Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron of youth, the 113-year-old institution has grown and matured into one of the West’s best comprehensive regional universities.

Administrators wanted a new facility for the School of Law, which was operating out of four buildings at the edge of the main campus. The building that was designed is strongly influenced by the Administration Building, which is made of load-carrying brick with a granite base and trim, and features a steeply sloped slate-shingled roof, dormers, copper details and floor-to-ceiling windows.

In order to meet the Law School’s program needs and budget requirements, the 104,000-sq.-ft. building was designed with an extremely efficient floor plan. While it was first felt that the building needed to be bigger, Gonzaga had a strong commitment to remaining within the project budget. The result is a four-story plan with virtually no wasted space.

Brick and stone were obvious choices for the exterior, evoking a sense of commitment, stature and permanence.

The School of Law houses a large-capacity courtroom, lecture halls, seminar rooms and group study spaces. It also includes the Center for Law and Justice; a student- and faculty-operated Law Clinic; and administrative, faculty and student organization offices. The largest single component is the law library, which occupies more than one-third of the building.

The main entry opens into a four-story-high atrium that features wood and glass railings, terrazzo floor and stairs, and extensive natural lighting. Entrances to the Law School’s major elements (courtroom, law clinic and library) are oriented to this central space.

The $17.5-million project was completed in summer 2000 by Spokane, Wash.-based ALSC Architects.