Flanked by the Coy Pond and the quad, the Ken Olsen Science Center sits on the idyllic Gordon College Campus. It is home to the College’s Botany, Computer Science, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology programs. The building connects the students to science and nature and defines the north edge of the main campus quadrangle, focusing views to nature and the Chapel.
In 2013, Kinesiology labs and dedicated classrooms were completed in the West Wing of the building on Level 3. The Bioenergetics lab houses floor equipment like EKG treadmills to examine human systems of energy delivery and utilization. The Biomechanics Lab is used to investigate the human body in motion, using experimental techniques, including motion capture systems, EMG and force platforms to study human movement. Continuous horizontal rails are placed at 11’ and 15’ elevations above the floor for hosting cameras that are used to record smooth tracking shots for the human body in motion. Students work closely with faculty in these light-filled labs with high ceilings and a view to the campus green as they analyze the function and complexity of human movement. Motor Control and Brain Imaging Lab are neighbors, which complement the Bioenergetics and Biomechanics labs as part of the Gordon College Kinesiology department.
The most recent fit-out to the building was completed in 2015 in the building’s Lower Level. One of the main program components was the latest addition to the Kinesiology Department – a 16-person Anatomy & Physiology Lab. The fit-out scope also included a shared seminar room, three specimen rooms, a physics shop and a pair of restrooms, totaling to 3200 SF in the existing unfinished Lower Level West Wing.
The major design challenge for this project involved accommodating the Anatomy and Physiology Lab. This type of lab has stringent mechanical requirements to maintain adequate air quality for the instructors and students that occupy the space. After several design iterations, the final scheme required the construction of risers through the building to allow new ductwork to connect to the building’s existing air handler; reducing the financial impact of the renovation. Finned elbows and a pair of booster fans installed in parallel minimize static pressure and allow the new lab to take full advantage of the air handler’s available capacity.
Design scheme showing the location of risers throughout the building
The design integrates audio and visual technology to allow up to 16 students to perform procedures alongside an instructor. Each table has a digital display at the head wall that can be patched into one of two cameras located at the instructor’s table or the instructor’s computer. There is also a large digital display at the teaching wall. Students have visual access to the procedure or presentation from anywhere in the room. Along the head wall is stainless steel casework with integral sinks beside each dissection table. The exhaust ductwork is integrated with the design of the cabinets – providing a coordinated, clean look. Frosted clearstory windows allow diffuse, natural light to fill space. Maple finishes complement blue accent walls to give a warm, activated ambiance to an otherwise austere environment.