From a pool of 38 projects submitted by 18 firms, Ballinger won the 2015 IIDA “Best of Year” Award for its interior design work on the George Washington University Science & Engineering Hall. The award recognizes outstanding built work designed by IIDA members in PA, NJ and DE.
The new 500,000 sf, eight-story Science & Engineering Hall (SEH) is the focal point of George Washington University’s expanding research emphasis, and transforms the institution’s capabilities in the sciences.
The IIDA award judges highlighted the dynamic, integrated experiences of SEH’s architecture and interiors topped off by great accents of color and moments of surprise.
Transparency is a pervasive theme – a glass façade on the building exterior, glass fronts on all labs and offices, a double-height atrium space to open vertical sightlines, and a floating tower of teaching spaces that extends six floors up. The abundance of glass allows natural light to penetrate the large floorplate while putting science on display both internally and externally.
To encourage interdisciplinary partnerships, departments are arranged in “research neighborhoods” that place lab and office space for different disciplines next to each other around a collaboration space, pantry, and spiral stair. Gathering spaces can be found throughout the building: internal garden spaces highlighted by green walls, informal group spaces, a large commons area, meeting and study rooms.
The building’s neutral palette is accented with pops of color to energize the space and assist in wayfinding. The maple underside of the teaching tower brings warmth to the scale of the atrium. The continuous flow of materials – terrazzo, granite, concrete and maple – from the common spaces into the teaching and research spaces provides a gradual transition and allows the science happening in the building to play the central role.