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Virginia Tech


Especially in the context of a university, the architecture of a chemistry building can aim for expression of objectivity and functionalism. Space dedicated to research is a part of a basic desire for new insights and can contribute through its form to an understanding of the role of research. Conversations with chemistry students suggest that both space layout and quantity of laboratories can be improved. Perhaps the architecture can provide an additional stimulus beyond the basic needs of students and researchers. The proposed chemistry building focuses primarily on architectural sensory and experiential qualities inspired by architects Louis Kahn and Peter Zumthor. The project proposes more laboratories with a better academic research environment combined with more public space for enjoyment beyond the research life.

Located at an important strategic site on campus, the building serves both as campus infrastructure and chemistry laboratories. The facade is intended as an assembly of grey precast concrete elements. The complex is divided into two main functional wings connected by a sculptural steel-glass stair object. The two wings serve as laboratories and offices, while the central glass stair offers a strong identity with a memorable space. The form offers a conversation between tradition and the future. The research part utilizes regular concrete structure with glass between the divisional walls, while the sculptural stair with its striking external form provokes a dialogue between art and science



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