6 LaboratoryDesign|MARCH|APRIL 2016
In the days before air conditioning, the key to staying comfortable in Florida was to dress in light colors
and carry a parasol. Eckerd College’s James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences (JCMLS) employs this
strategy with a highly reflective white exterior and a white fabric “parasol” at the center of the complex
that shades the building and creates usable outdoor space for collaboration, study and events.
cultivates the imagination and enhanced
by excellent teaching and mentoring.
technology supports interdisciplinary
approaches in the sciences.
Science is always on display in and
around the James Center. Eckerd
College regards its surroundings as
a living, breathing classroom and
a laboratory for conservation and
sustainable practices. Additionally,
many of the laboratory spaces and
lounge spaces are seamlessly integrated
within the layout to encourage
Interdisciplinary collaboration is
critical to the project success; therefore,
chemistry and biology labs are collocated
to encourage such interaction. Equally
important was to engage undergraduates
in research and easy access to faculty
members. Teaching labs, research
labs, faculty offices and informal
collaboration spaces are located together
to foster successful scientists and
Exposing non-science majors to the
sciences is achieved by the pass-through
lobby. As students walk through the
open space, they are exposed to research
labs visible through large glass windows.
Additionally, the building corridors
include large expanses of glass showcasing
scientific activities inside the labs. Outside
each lab is a place to pin up research
posters—fostering constant discussion
about student and faculty work.
A revolutionary air-conditioning system is at the heart of the exceptional efficiency the college sought for the JCMLS. The system capitalizes upon a pipeline of
reclaimed, nonpotable water from the nearby St. Petersburg wastewater treatment facility that city residents use for watering lawns.