Ocean Science and Exploration Center houses marine explorer and discoverer of titanic, Robert Ballard
The University of Rhode Island’s Ocean Science and Exploration Center serves as an essential resource for the students, faculty, and staff of the Graduate School of Oceanography. The facility acts as both research centre and campus centre, fostering learning and interaction via enhanced library and computer resources, informal and formal meeting spaces, administrative offices, and research-focused areas. This mix of uses promotes a lively campus crossroads.
Through technology and outreach programs, the building becomes a learning centre that reaches far beyond its physical location. The Inner Space Center, designed specifically for Dr. Robert Ballard, integrates ‘telepresence’ technology and a broadcast facility for receiving live-feed from ocean-going research expeditions and for re-broadcast to academic, museum, and educational partners.
The building’s form is attuned to the rural coastal setting of the Bay Campus. It responds to the landscape, utilizing long horizontal lines with integrated plantings as an extension of the building geometry. Brick is used to wrap the program, which then opens to key vistas from within the building. The use of two tones of brick represents the main programmatic elements, giving identity to the components while maintaining a proportional balance to the façade. A rainscreen panel system is used
to feature the Inner Space Center which becomes a focal point in the landscape just at the main entryto the campus.
Innovation is inherent in the spatial relationships between the programmatic uses, which are centralised in the lobby. The lobby acts as a visual and physical hinge between the outside and the inside. The
building is a focal point upon entering the campus and gives the campus a new identity.