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Georgia Southern University

Biological Sciences Building

Location: Statesboro, GA
Project Completed: 2013
Size: 158,000 SF
SLAM has programmed, planned, and designed a new instructional and research laboratory building for the Biological Sciences at Georgia Southern University. In addition to being the first major building in a new precinct of the campus to be devoted to the sciences and research, the new facility represents a prerequisite first step in the development of a new program in Coastal Plain Biology.
what mattered to the client
  • to create a new building that is an exemplar of appropriate and responsible development of the second growth forest sites that are typical of the Georgia Coastal Plain region and that it also be an event along the extension through its site of a major campus pedestrian way
  • to provide new instructional labs that meet the needs of an evolving bio. sciences program that by its nature encompasses a number of sub-specialties and encourages inter-disciplinary discovery
  • to reflect the planning and design ideals of Project Kaleidoscope in putting science on display and in blurring the boundaries between instruction and research
outcomes-based design RESULTS
  • The building’s instructional labs are designed to be discipline-specific but are generic enough to be easily adaptable to the requirements of a variety of disciplines as the needs and curricula of the program evolve over time. Likewise the “transformer” labs accommodate students working in the less populated sub-disciplines and specialties within a physical configuration and arrangement that encourages and enables inter-disciplinary inquiry and collaboration.
  • The new facility is designed to be perceived as a building in the woods – seen through and among the trees of its pine forested site. It is an ensemble of articulated parts (two 3-story lab / classroom wings; a field house containing a vivarium, aquatics lab, and specimen collections; and a rooftop botanical greenhouse) whose slightly skewed geometric relationships, irregular and articulated gable roof forms, deep overhangs, and generous use of glass are all intended to impart transparency and to diminish the mass of the composition while recalling forms, geometries, and vernacular of the agricultural and forestry camps that are still found in the region’s pine forests. The extension of the campus “pedestrium” through the site bisects the composition at a breezeway connecting the lab wings to the field house, showing off the greenhouse and the interior working areas of the building to passersby on their way to and from the Student Recreation Center.
  • Consistent with Project Kaleidoscope ideals, research labs are intermingled with instructional labs and not segregated in separate areas of the building. They are generally placed along major circulation paths and are adjacent to or opposite the entrances to instructional labs. The physical juxtaposition facilitates the sharing of support facilities while interior “windows” along the corridors put research activities clearly “on display” and accessible to all. Opportunities to put science on display are provided throughout the facility in the form of posters and nature image displays and sample and model cases co-located with informal student gathering spaces and the building lobby.
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