Green Science in Salt Lake City
by Kevin Matthews
The new Meldrum Science Center, certified LEED Platinum, provides an outstanding teaching and laboratory facility for the Westminster College campus in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The airy, daylit interior of the four-story, 60,000-square-foot (5,600-square-meter) building provides a fertile matrix for interactive learning about science — in the curriculum and in the building.
Designed by VCBO Architecture, it's clearly a building built for its users, with actively used small-group study areas connected to an exciting central atrium, surrounded by a diverse array of controlled-environment teaching laboratories, classrooms, offices, and service space.
The facades are modulated according to the solar and thermal constraints of each cardinal direction in the building's high-altitude semi-arid climate. Inside, two mirror-polished metal cylinders bracket the atrium space as sculptural objects, while functioning to distribute 100-percent fresh supply air from the intake heat-exchanger and conditioning system.
Light and Energy
The Meldrum Science Center relies extensively on daylight — an abundant resource in Utah — to maintain adequate light levels in occupied spaces while minimizing reliance on electric lighting.
Thus, three-quarters of regularly occupied spaces have access to daylight, while according to the architects over 90 percent of occupants have views to the outdoors.
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