environment on the west coast of Florida
and the existing site is 4 feet above sea
level in a FEMA zone which required a
floor elevation 9.5 feet above sea level. The
building’s first floor is 11 feet above sea
level. Fill dirt was created by creating an
onsite pond which doubles as a storm water
control feature and provides additional
onsite aquatic habitat, which was greatly
desired by the biology faculty.
Central Florida sun is abundant and
strong. The exterior precast is articulated
with a pattern of deep vertical, horizontal
and diagonal reveals. Reveals are based on
the modules and geometries that exist on
adjacent buildings. The reveals modulate
the scale of the building, provide
visual relief and build upon the visual
vocabulary of the original campus.
SCIENCE ON DISPLAY
Forty percent of students major in the
sciences at Eckerd College, and nearly
50 percent of students say they chose the
college because of its science programs.
Seeking to further strengthen its
distinctive science education program,
Eckerd College commissioned the James
Center for Molecular and Life Sciences
and a $5 million laboratory renovation.
The science center houses the college’s
biology and chemistry faculty and will
support emerging pedagogies of biology
and chemistry for the next 40 to 50
years. The new and renovated spaces are
simultaneously a place for learning and
an emblem of the college’s ambitions
for liberal arts education in the 21st
century: a personalized experience that
LaboratoryDesign|MARCH|APRIL 2016 5
on a tropical, oceanfront
continued from page 1
the center of the complex that shades
the building and creates usable outdoor
space for collaboration, study and
events. The precast bearing wall system
is painted with a highly reflective
coating typically used on pool decks
that significantly reduces cooling load.
The one-story building is massed as
two wings connected by a central lobby
that can be opened to the outside, with
airlocks to separate the lobby from the
wings. Science curriculum teaching
labs are housed in the west wing, and
advanced science labs occupy the east wing.
The open lobby allows visitors to stroll
through the building as they commute
from the main parking lot to the center of
campus. Teaching spaces, faculty offices
and most collaboration spaces receive views
to adjacent green space through large, sunshaded windows.
Connection to the exterior is crucial on
campus which reflects the college’s “think
outside” mantra. Daylight and views were
taken into great consideration. Every
teaching space, every faculty office and
most collaboration spaces are located at an
exterior wall. The exterior glass is shaded
allowing large areas of glass and expansive
views outside to the adjacent green space.
The college is located in a semi-tropical
By using the power of design, Eckerd College is poised to become a leader in interdisciplinary science education.
Interdisciplinary collaboration is critical to the project success; therefore, chemistry and biology labs are collocated to encourage such interaction.