Francis Cauffman and Bergman Associates Chosen to Work on Research Building
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.