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Contract | Francis Cauffman and Bergman Associates Chosen to Work on Research Building

Francis Cauffman and Bergman Associates Chosen to Work on Research Building

Adam Figman, March 2010 Download PDF

Francis Cauffman and Bergmann Associates have been chosen by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to design Institute Hall, a $26 million research building in the school’s Modernist campus. The 78,000 sq.-ft. state-ofthe- art structure will house RIT’s departments of chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, and chemistry, as well as wet research labs, classrooms and RIT-Rochester General Health System Alliance facilities.

The firms plan to synergize the building by developing many shared areas; while specialized lab space will help different departments focus on individual needs. RIT”s campus has a Modernist style, yet the designers have different plans for this hall. Although most buildings on campus are solid red brick with dark glass throughout, the Institute Hall will maintain a transparent interior, wrapped in a red brick shell. The building will complete a quadrangle of science buildings.

Two concepts are inspiring the project. “Unlike the solid brick buildings of the existing campus, the building will not be a solid box,” says Richard Beck, Francis Cauffman’s director of design. “We are designing it to be open and transparent so that it embraces the solidity of the campus and inserts a greater visibility with regard to its research activities. For its exterior shape and interior spaces, we are inspired by the metaphor of molecular systems and structures – biological forms that reflect the scientific research that takes place in the labs and classrooms.”

Institute Hall also intends to be a showcase for responsible building, as RIT has already made a campus-wide pledge towards sustainability. The school already has buildings with LEED certifications of Platinum and Gold, and it hopes this building will achieve a rating of LEED Silver or above. Bergmann, as the architect of record, will provide the interior design and landscape, site, and civil engineering services, while Francis Cauffman – who has offices in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore – is responsible for programming, planning, and designing the building.

Architecture groups that have worked on RIT facilities before include Hugh Stubbins & Associates, Roche Dinkeloo and Associates, Harry Weese and Associates, and Edward Larabee Barnes.

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