The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), Wachapreague campus, known as the Eastern Shore Lab (ESL), features various facilities geared toward oceanographic research. Within the ESL campus, Seaside Hall serves as the over-land laboratory facility as well as the general-use education hall. The previous laboratory that occupied the site burned down in COST PER SQ FT$338.97FEATURED IN2013 Architectural Portfolio 2010.
The premise supplied for the new design was to build a replacement of the previous structure—to be programmatically identical, maintain a similar footprint, and even reuse the existing foundation. Because of state standards requiring the building to be elevated a minimum of 2 feet above the flood elevation, the reconstructed building was raised significantly, presenting the opportunity to accentuate the structure and its presence on the street.
The unique opportunity of designing Seaside Hall across the street from ESL has enabled the architect to not only incorporate the contextual language of the local vernacular architecture of the town of Wachapreague, but also create and establish a cohesive and thoughtful campus architectural language for future expansions and additions to the VIMS campus.