New home for the Department of Chemistry on Princeton's historic campus
This building provides a new home to reinvigorate the Department of Chemistry, integrating teaching and high-level research spaces in a facility which enhances interaction, collaboration and creativity. The design rethinks typical component organisation: offices, normally placed surrounding the laboratories themselves (and therefore blocking light and views into these spaces) are accommodated in separate towers facing the campus woodland, whilst laboratories are housed in a deep, glazed linear block to the rear.
These are separated by the focal point of the building, a dramatic 75-ft-high atrium which serves as a centralised circulation, interaction and meeting space and which offers views both into and out of these surrounding spaces. Off of this are Social Spaces of varying sizes designed to maximise interaction among students and faculty members known to be reticent. Most spaces in the building are glazed and provide superb visual connection to inhabitants and passers-by, helping to demystify the process of chemistry education and research.
Located on a gateway site near the principal southern entrance to the historic campus, Frick is part of a greater campus effort to consolidate related schools within in a new 'Science Neighbourhood'. One of the principal aims was to set a new standard in energy-efficient design for chemistry research buildings throughout the US. One of the most prominent sustainable features is the large photovoltaic panel array which is located above the glazed atrium roof and which cleverly works 'double-duty' as an integrated shading device.
Other features include a pre-manufactured engineered façade system, occupancy and daylight sensors to control dimmable fluorescent lighting systems, individually-controllable radiators and ceiling-mounted chilled in the offices that are linked to a room’s thermostat. These features are coupled with a sustainable energy monitoring station in the atrium to provide constant feedback about building consumption and solar production.