Haverford is a liberal-arts college known for the quality of its academic programs, particularly in the sciences. With the new Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center, seven departments formerly in multiple locations are now in one complex, supported by a strong physical and academic infrastructure.
The 138,000-square-foot center accommodates the departments COST PER SQ FT$253.60FEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio chemistry, physics, astronomy, computer science, mathematics, biology and psychology. Their proximity promotes the development of innovative curricula in interdisciplinary areas such as biochemistry, biophysics, neurobiology, behavioral science and materials science. The collaborative atmosphere leads to research initiatives in rapidly emerging fields such as nanoscience and bioinformatics, which generally are not represented at liberal-arts institutions.
The program includes instructional and research laboratories; computer-equipped classrooms; a microscopy suite with an electron microscope, several fluorescence microscopes and two atomic force microscopes; a laser laboratory for instruction and research in atmospheric chemistry, biochemistry and materials science; the Gilbert White Science Library; a 120-seat auditorium; interactive lounges; faculty offices; conference and seminar spaces; administrative and support staff offices; and a machine shop.
Prior to the Koshland project, the biology and psychology departments were in adjacent older buildings, and the other departments were across campus in a 1960s building that needed renovation and a 40,000-square-foot addition. The biology/psychology site was the logical choice for consolidating Haverford’s natural-science programs. The rich topography allowed another floor with windows facing south, and the site could become the new center of gravity for the college because other development would occur to the south. However, specialized labs, new common areas and the complexities of the existing buildings meant the facility would be the largest presence on campus.
The site also was restricted by an adjacent central steam plant that could not be moved and a fieldhouse complex that eventually will be relocated. The north-south grade change of 24 vertical feet was another issue. The site challenges were met by adding 120,000 square feet of advanced science space and renovating 18,000 square feet for Sharpless and Hilles halls.
The blocking and stacking process, which the design consultants used for the first time, showed responses to changes in massing. Participants could see how well the center fit into the campus context. It helped them understand that the science program did not end at the outside wall.
The architect designed Koshland as an attractive threshold between the existing buildings and a gateway to the upper and lower sections of campus, with a circular atrium as the focal point. The social commons encourages interaction.