CA Labs: Science Center Renovation

How can a building stimulate the circulation of ideas? CA’s educators are known for developing methods of teaching that give students the tools to learn through inquiry and collaboration. To expand the full potential of interactive learning, we have created a state-of-the-art science center that reflects this spirit of discovery, a building that serves as a dynamic learning platform and a teaching tool itself.

CA Labs has already fostered many opportunities for collaboration that have enlivened our campus. With its meteorological station, slate chalkboard, and temperature-regulating groundcover, the Anatta Green Roof, a gift of Siwalee and Thanawat Trivisvavet ‘97, offers an unobstructed view of the night sky and a fresh perspective on CA’s campus and the surrounding area. One classroom is home to English, trigonometry, Latin, and advanced physics. The building’s flexible design encourages creative thinking and sparks
creativity across disciplines.

DRIVING GOALS

  • Add flexible, multidisciplinary classroom spaces
  • Increase the visibility of the sciences
  • Create a building that is itself a learning tool

  • Establish a dedicated fabrication lab
  • Facilitate connections with the MAC and the main building
  •  Renovate to environmental sustainability standards

Buildings as a Learning Tool

Imagine a green architecture course that would expand upon Chris Rowe’s architecture and Gretchen Roorbach’s environmental-science classes. Offered for credit in both science and visual arts, a green architecture class might begin with an investigation in the field, with visits to the Genzyme headquarters in Cambridge, for example, or Concord’s neighborhood of net-zero-energy homes. Back on campus, a multi-use classroom would offer the option to meet either with the full class to interact with guest architects, or to gather in smaller subgroups, where students could hammer out solutions to real-world problems. Participants would learn to navigate CAD software in a multimedia lab, then assemble prototypes of their final projects in a lab furnished with expansive tables, construction tools, a 3D printer, and of course an ample supply of cardboard and hot-glue guns.

Imagine further if CA’s buildings could offer learning opportunities in their own right, with sustainable features like a green roof or passive solar systems available for close-up student exploration. Our teachers are already thinking about the ways in which their courses could expand in spaces that are as adaptable as our thinking. With these ideas and ambitions already in place, physical upgrades will serve as the spark for the fire of creativity.

CA LABS: Science center renovation

Bringing Science into Dialogue with Other Disciplines

How can a building facilitate the circulation of ideas? Glass walls and ample natural light. Collaboration zones in wide hallways. Reconfigurable classrooms with retractable, sound-curbing… READ FULL STORY