GROUND PLANE AND BUILDING INTERFACE
VERTICAL AND PUBLIC CIRCULATION
MASONRY ARMATURE WITH CIRCULATION
ENCLOSURE: GLASS, COPPER AND BRICK
Life Sciences Building
Morgantown, WV / United States
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE
Biology, Cellular Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Biology, Genetics Research, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Animal Facility, Greenhouse, Research Labs, Teaching Labs
Recalling the scale of industrial buildings along Morgantown’s waterfront, the West Virginia University Life Sciences Building works to define a new horizon for the campus. The first major science facility built on campus in over 40 years, the Life Sciences Building contains interdisciplinary research and undergraduate classrooms for biology and psychology.The steeply sloped site is oriented towards the Monongahela River, its grade more than three stories below the main campus level. Sited to reinforce and improve the definition of a new quadrangle for the “Lower Bowl” area of campus, the Life Sciences Building is visibly open and accessible from all grade levels abutting it, with seven grade-level entrances and four lobbies. These elements are spread across a dynamic building section that adapts at each entrance to reduce the scale of the building as it meets grade.
The building negotiates a transition between a formal, ceremonial quad to the south and a low-scale residential area to the north. Reflecting this dichotomy, the two main facades switch the relationship of wall to void, break the volume to soften the articulation on the street side, and formalize the quad face with a roof canopy.
From the exterior, the openness of the curtainwall assembly creates a map of activity both day and night. The south façade registers transitions in program to define scale and departmental identities. On the upper three floors, biology is expressed with a vertically textured glass curtainwall, with the main biology teaching floor expressed as a continuous glazed gallery running the length of the building three levels above the quad. Psychology is articulated in brick on the lower two floors; public functions are expressed in a horizontally textured curtainwall – its angular geometry oriented toward the main campus grid.
Photography: © Warren Jagger Photography