The design of the Robert Day Sciences Center at Claremont McKenna College will support “a powerful, multi-disciplinary, computational approach to the grand socio-scientific challenges and opportunities of our time—gene, brain, and climate,” says Hiram E. Chodosh, college president. The need for more interdisciplinary collaboration in the sciences drove the design of the building.
“More than ever, we are seeing the confluence of previously distinct disciplines: breakthroughs in computer and data science lead to breakthroughs in the natural and life sciences,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, the firm that designed the facility. “As a consequence, we need to provide spaces for the integration of these previously siloed sciences. The labs and classrooms are stacked in a Jenga-like composition framing a column-free, open internal space with the freedom and flexibility to adapt the ever-evolving demands of technology and science.
“Each level of the building is oriented towards a different direction of the campus, channeling the flow of people and ideas internally between the labs and the classrooms as well as externally between the integrated sciences and the rest of the campus,” Ingels said. “It is our hope that the building will not only provoke new conversations between scientists but that it may also stimulate the rest of the liberal arts students to take a deeper interest in the sciences and vice versa.”
The 135,000 sf-building’s structure is a stack of two volumes, or rectangular ‘blocks’— two per floor. Each pair is rotated 45 degrees from the floor below. Each individual volume is expressed as a rectangular wood-clad truss on the long edges, and as a floor-to-ceiling glass facade on the shorter sides. The rotation of each floor enables a sky-lit, central atrium at the heart of the building with direct views into classrooms and research spaces from all levels. Upon entering, students will find open spaces that invite collaborative activity.
Instructional and research spaces are organized around the perimeter of the building, providing classrooms with picturesque views while keeping the instructional spaces away from the more social atrium. The interior aesthetic is defined by the contrast of warm wood-clad beams, concrete floors, and the functional double-duty surfaces found within the integrated sciences labs.
Eight outdoor roof terraces offer sweeping 360-degree views of the mountains to the north, the campus to the west, and the Roberts Campus to the east. Designed with a mix of hardscape and softscape areas featuring native plantings, the terraces are multi-functional, designed to be used for outdoor classrooms, study areas, or meeting places.
Groundbreaking recently took place, and the building is expected to be completed in 2024.
On the Building Team:
Owner and/or developer: Claremont McKenna College
Design architect: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
Architect of record: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group
MEP engineer: Acco Engineered Systems
Structural engineer: Saiful Bouquet
General contractor/construction manager: N/A
K-12 Schools | Mar 6, 2023
Benefitting kids through human-centric high school design
Ingrid Krueger, AIA, LEED AP, shares why empathetic, well-designed spaces are critical in high schools.
Virtual Reality | Feb 27, 2023
Surfing the Metaversity: The future of online learning?
SmithGroup's tour of the Metaversity gives us insight on bringing together physical and virtual campuses to create a cohesive institution.
K-12 Schools | Feb 18, 2023
Atlanta suburb opens $85 million serpentine-shaped high school designed by Perkins&Will
In Ellenwood, Ga., a southeast suburb of Atlanta, Perkins and Will has partnered with Clayton County Public Schools and MEJA Construction to create a $85 million secondary school. Morrow High School, which opened in fall 2022, serves more than 2,200 students in Clayton County, a community with students from over 30 countries.
Giants 400 | Feb 9, 2023
New Giants 400 download: Get the complete at-a-glance 2022 Giants 400 rankings in Excel
See how your architecture, engineering, or construction firm stacks up against the nation's AEC Giants. For more than 45 years, the editors of Building Design+Construction have surveyed the largest AEC firms in the U.S./Canada to create the annual Giants 400 report. This year, a record 519 firms participated in the Giants 400 report. The final report includes 137 rankings across 25 building sectors and specialty categories.
Giants 400 | Feb 6, 2023
2022 Reconstruction Sector Giants: Top architecture, engineering, and construction firms in the U.S. building reconstruction and renovation sector
Gensler, Stantec, IPS, Alfa Tech, STO Building Group, and Turner Construction top BD+C's rankings of the nation's largest reconstruction sector architecture, engineering, and construction firms, as reported in the 2022 Giants 400 Report.
University Buildings | Jan 27, 2023
Ozarks Technical Community College's advanced manufacturing center is first-of-a-kind in region
The new Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo., is a first-of-a-kind educational asset in the region. The 125,000-sf facility will educate and train a new generation in high tech, clean manufacturing and fabrication.
K-12 Schools | Jan 25, 2023
As gun incidents grow, schools have beefed up security significantly in recent years
Recently released federal data shows that U.S. schools have significantly raised security measures in recent years. About two-thirds of public schools now control access to school grounds—not just the building—up from about half in the 2017-18 school year.
ProConnect Events | Jan 16, 2023
7 BD+C ProConnect Events coming in 2023 – The videos show why you should participate
ProConnects bring building product manufacturers and suppliers together with architects, contractors, builders, and developers to discuss upcoming projects and learn about new products and technical solutions.
K-12 Schools | Dec 20, 2022
Designing an inspiring, net zero early childhood learning center
LPA's design for a new learning center in San Bernardino provides a model for a facility that prepares children for learning and supports the community.
HVAC | Dec 13, 2022
Energy Management Institute launches online tool to connect building owners with HVAC contractors
The National Energy Management Institute Inc. (NEMI) along with the Biden administration’s Better Air in Buildings website have rolled out a resource to help building owners and managers, school districts, and other officials find HVAC contractors.