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University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Strong Hall, Science Laboratory Building

Location: Knoxville, TN
Project Completed: 2017
Size: 268,000 GSF

SLAM, teamed with Tennessee local, Lewis Group Architects, designed the Science Laboratory Building (Strong Hall Site) to be an iconic “Home of the Sciences – Earth, Life, and Time” with a monumentality that will make it an instant Collegiate Gothic landmark within the campus district. True to the vision for the University of Tennessee campus, the building style is predominantly Collegiate Gothic. Its design elements are layered in a rich blend of colors and materials consistent with the campus standards and compatible with its context. There is also a careful introduction of modern details, materials and systems that infuse a “state of the art” appearance to the building and recognizes it as a building of its time. Overall, the look of the building celebrates the old and the new.

Programs housed within the building include chemistry, biology, anthropology, and earth and planetary sciences. Key academic /research spaces are at the cutting edge of biology courses. A new teaching model that combines “scale-up” classrooms with wet lab teaching space provide a more flexible group based teaching environment for a growing student population; each classroom is supported with an adjacent wet lab and classrooms are configured to be combined into larger classroom spaces when necessary. Other spaces within the building include dynamic public spaces, lecture halls, Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classrooms, collaboration areas, research and teaching labs, classrooms, conference rooms and offices.

The building is capped with a large gable roof that is a signature piece for this facility as it is visible from many points on the surrounding campus and in the surrounding city. The building is proud of its stature, both in terms of its physicality and of the aspirations driving the learning and research within, but the building also operates meaningfully at a smaller, more pedestrian scale. Elements such as the colonnades, the gallery or nave-like commons, the 2-story classroom volume on the southeast corner, and the selected, remaining pieces of Strong Hall all provide places in which occupants engage the building at the human scale.

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