The Kuss Center will house the university’s departments of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics and computer science. The building also houses programs in biochemistry, molecular biology, marine biology, health professions and environmental studies.
By enclosing the open space of the “L” shaped existing building, Holabird & Root incorporates the former exterior walls into the central open atrium that links the old and the new building components. The atrium design allows natural light and also lets visitors see what is happening on other floors, animating the atrium and presenting the tools and excitement of scientific investigation to building occupants.
Among the components of the new building:
Wittenberg’s science faculty has been planning a new science facility for seven years as the growth of programs made the existing building too small. Wittenberg faculty have led the planning for the new Kuss Center, working closely with architects and laboratory design consultants firm Earl Walls & Associates of San Diego to create a learning space that captures the best practices of teaching collegiate-level science today.
The faculty members’ vision for the project was to create a flexible laboratory and classroom facility that can adapt to large and small group work and adapt easily to future technology. Science buildings of the 1950s and 1960s science instruction were closed off by walls and had few windows, according to Ken Bladh, professor of geology. The Kuss Center design calls for many walls of glass intended to eliminate the mystery of scientific exploration. Like Wittenberg’s new high-tech humanities building, Hollenbeck Hall, the Kuss Center is also designed to optimize interaction between students, faculty and the science disciplines.
The Kuss Center will integrate the latest advances in laboratory safety. The center will include modern laboratory hoods and air handling systems, specially designed storage rooms with explosion-proof cabinets, and clean room technology to remove infectious pathogens.
Holabird & Root, Chicago
Holabird & Root maintains fullservice offices in Chicago and Rochester, Minnesota. We offer clients a complete integration of architectural, engineering, interior and graphic design services.
Earl Walls & Associates, San Diego
Scheduled Completion: 2003
Cost: $23 million
47,000-square foot expansion
(adding high-tech classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, student study/social areas, improved 230-seat auditorium)
Planning also calls for later renovation of existing Science Hall (96,000square feet, built 1966, expanded in 1972) The second phase of the project will upgrade existing mechanical systems, computer network connections, classrooms and laboratory spaces.