Vassar College Science Center

Designed by Ennead Architects, the centerpiece of this project is an 80,000 SF Bridge Building spanning two pieces of campus terrain across the Fonteyn Kill and connecting to Olmsted Hall with a two-level skywalk. The Bridge Building includes modern labs, faculty office suites, flexible classrooms and gathering places and an outdoor seating area. The project also included extensive renovations to New England and Sanders Physics buildings, a partial renovation of Olmsted Hall, and the demolition of the Mudd Chemistry Building. all of which were completed as work on the Bridge Building continued.

The Bridge Building is suspended from trusses with solid piers grounding it. The structural system incorporates the use of lighter materials – glass, metal and mesh – that allow the building’s curved form to appear to almost float across the landscape. The two-story building sits on support bays that also serve as its basement. The northwest side of the building is devoted to labs, lecture halls and classrooms and has a separate circulation spine for the safe passage of people and materials among adjoining lab and research spaces. Along the southeast side, a corridor runs end-to-end to provide a public passageway flanked by student gathering spaces on the lower level and faculty office on the upper floor. The design is intended both to maximize the views out onto the campus and also offer those using the walkways a visual connection to the intellectual energy of the labs and classrooms. Another key aspect is the inclusion of “unprogrammed” spaces that entice students and faculty to linger longer. Programming includes outdoor spaces for art-making, writing, historical research and contemplation as well as scientific teaching and research.

Click here to take a Video Tour of the new Bridge for Laboratory Sciences!