Creating a Science Complex to Bolster STEM Learning
SUNY Buffalo State’s new science building boldly asserts the beauty and harmony of science by promoting design excellence and interdisciplinary learning. The state-of-the-art facility will boost SUNY Buffalo State’s ability to recruit and retain top students and faculty in its growing science curriculum.
Built in 1962, the original building had become inadequate to house the college’s science program. Rather than merely rehabilitating the existing 171,000 sf building, the college undertook a multi-phased expansion project to create a science complex designed for interdisciplinary collaboration—one that consolidates science departments into a single facility, establishing a hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
The building design uses the Fibonacci series as an ordering principle, determining the proportion and placement of exterior metal panels and glazing and the design of signage, floor tile, and decorative colored-glass panels. Spaces and adjacencies are designed to foster collaboration and prominently put science on display. In a three-story, skylit atrium, large windows reveal labs and classrooms, and balconies and open bridges encourage casual meetings as well as quiet study. Laboratory clusters are partitioned by windows rather than solid walls to encourage open learning and discovery—a key to enhancing STEM principles.
With a range of energy-conserving strategies and systems, the facility has achieved LEED Gold certification. Systems include hydronic coils that transfer heat from laboratory exhaust to preconditioning coils; energy-efficient fan arrays; variable-speed fans, chiller compressors, and pump motors; and restricted-bypass laboratory fume hoods.