Page D3.2 . 02 April 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Wisconsin Chemistry


    Large windows in interior offices introduce daylight to spaces away from the building's perimeter and permit open views between spaces. Circulation routes provide views into work zones and across the full width of the building. From a single point, a user is visually connected to a variety of scenes: through interior windows into labs and offices and through exterior windows to the campus beyond.

    Not only does the increased visibility from one space to another provide greater safety for users working alone and often late at night, it creates an increased sense of connection and camaraderie among the building's users. This spatial openness is a "less common, more innovative way of organizing labs," says Black, and the improved safety and comfort it generates have become "a hallmark of the building's success."

    Even before the new chemistry facility opened, it had already fulfilled part of its mandate to help revitalize the department. On the strength of the promise of new facilities, five top faculty members considering outside offers decided to stay, and five new faculty were recruited.

    "Flad's bold design transformed a dilapidated urban site into a compelling and vibrant statement for contemporary chemistry," says Professor Robert J. McMahon. "We are proud of our building: it is both functional and beautiful, and it substantially enhances our communication, coordination, and efficiency." It may also serve to heighten expectations for what college campuses should expect from their architects.

    Katharine Logan is a Vancouver-based designer and writer.



    ArchWeek Image

    The lecture hall's curved and faceted form announces a special forum within the department.
    Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical lab with exposed mechanical systems in the ceiling space.
    Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical office, with large windows for camaraderie and security.
    Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical research floor, with labs and offices.
    Image: Flad & Associates


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