Three sides of the new addition are wrapped in copper-alloy panels, which create a breathable rain screen. The southern elevation is purposely kept windowless for the light sensitive research that is conducted in the laboratories behind.
Using the idea of a camera obscura—an optics tool used to study light—as the project's design inspiration for the volumetric play of space within the building, the architects create a dialogue between “light” and “dark” relying on a combination of daylight and readily available sources. In the lobby linear fluorescent T8 fixtures define the underside of the stair and perimeter edges of the light shaft—one of three in the project.
The light shafts allow natural light to permeate throughout the building while creating unique effects.
The new addition's north façade, a folded-glass curtain wall, provides views out to the surrounding landscape and abundant natural light into the office and classroom areas by day. Daylight is balanced with T8 fixtures positioned at angles, which correspond to the faceted glass wall. At night, the skewed patterning of the fluorescent tubes takes on a sculptural quality.