Functional by Design
The new Science Building at MTSU brings student-centered learning environments to the forefront of the educational experience in chemistry and biology. The design focuses on the creation of “intellectual neighborhoods” or “communities of scholars” that operate based on shared scientific pursuits, rather than the traditional administrative model of departments.
Science has moved from a primarily discipline-specific approach to an increasingly collaborative, interdisciplinary team-based philosophy; as such, this building’s concept is organized to best accommodate the way faculty and students now work in groups, for both courses and research. The “neighborhood” wet bench spaces offer a variety of shared instrumentation and support spaces convenient to both teaching and research spaces; communal write-up areas and group discussion rooms immediately adjacent to faculty offices; and a variety of informal learning spaces that promote student scholarship.
To promote an open and adventurous environment that encourages intellectual collisions, collaboration, and discovery- transparency is needed. The open circulation path brings access to daylight, views of the courtyard and adjacent informal learning spaces, and glass walled laboratories—all promote visibility and interest in the sciences.
New types of “experimental learning spaces” combine both “low” and “high” technologies, such as advanced imaging and communication systems with sinks and movable tables to try new curricular approaches, and encourage active and participatory learning for students.
Thomas, Miller and Partners, LLC in jont venture with Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC, served as lead desingers of the facility. Turner Construction Company led construction.