Delaware Valley University, Life Sciences Building, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Well known for their science programs, Delaware Valley University decided that new learning spaces were in order. The 38,000 SF building, DVU’s first new building in several years, was meant to engage students in learning, both inside and outside the classroom and lab. A generous, light filled atrium lobby houses informal furniture and discretely placed white boards that allow students to meet and work in groups. The deliberately wide teaching and lab corridors were configured to support informal seating paired with teaching displays and whiteboards, also allowing students to engage in discussions and teamwork outside the classroom. Outside the building, a landscaped forecourt, outdoor amphitheater and adjacent garden offers additional areas for informal learning and social interaction. The lab and classroom spaces, along with several conference spaces, were programmed to be used by multiple departments, making the building a true, interdisciplinary facility that benefits all of Delaware Valley University’s students.
At the outset, the University dictated a two-phased approach to design and project delivery. Current L.R. Kimball architects (while employed at a prior office) undertook Phase 1 – Programming through advanced Schematic Design – in the creation of “Bridging Documents”. Phase 2, the Design-Build component, was awarded and completed by Kimmel Bogrette Architects in association with IMC Construction. During Phase 2 Kimmel Bogrette further refined and interpreted the schematic design, developed construction documents and oversaw construction.
During programming, the University decided to enlarge and upgrade the proposed tiered classroom to take advantage of the new building’s prominent location on the campus green and to better serve the needs of both the campus community and the community at large. This auditorium, located immediately off the building lobby, accommodates 450 seats on two levels, and was programmed to feel intimate whether serving a typical science lecture, a campus convocation, a conference or a musical performance. A large window brings light into the space and announces the University’s new venture in community learning to the outside world.
During Phase 1, the building was carefully sited on the University’s campus green to respect the surrounding campus fabric and campus traditions, and took its design cues from many of the neighboring buildings. A unique feature of the building is the glass enclosed semi-circular grand stair that connects the upper and lower lobbies: from the stair, one can look out to the historic gates that once signaled the entrance to this venerable college.
Phase 1: Completed by LR Kimball employees prior to joining LR Kimball
Phase 2: Completed by Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site
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