Note: Architecture+ was the associated firm on the project.
The Fisher Science and Academic Center for Simon’s Rock College of Bard, a small, liberal-arts college in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, is the first major academic building constructed on the school’s campus since it was founded in the early 1970s. In addition to its specific science and CO FIRMARCHITECTURE+ASSOCIATED FIRMArchitecture +CAPACITY200COST PER SQ FT$152.80FEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio program, the college wanted the building to break down perceived barriers between the sciences and other academic disciplines. The program achieves this goal by encouraging social and intellectual interaction between faculty and students outside formal classrooms and labs, and by integrating dedicated lab space for chemistry, biology, ecology and physics with general-purpose classrooms, meeting and seminar rooms, faculty offices and a 60-seat auditorium.
The building, a steel-frame and wood structure with exposed reinforced concrete retaining walls on concrete slab, is set into the existing landscape to minimize disturbance to existing woodlands and wetlands.
Primary circulation is an open two-story interior street whose upper level is a bridge, allowing sunlight into the lower level. The street extends along the south side of the building between a concrete retaining wall and the labs/classrooms. The main lobby stair spills down from the upper level as extension of the bridge, animating the entry space. The space is enlivened by a series of brightly colored spaces and objects, providing opportunities for both organized and impromptu gatherings.
Photographer: ©Matt Wargo