Science Center Work Spaces Encourage Collaboration

Alisa Giardinelli

Science Center Work
 Spaces Encourage Collaboration

by Alisa Giardinelli
08/05/2008

Anima Singh '08 and Richard Wicentowski

Anima Singh '08 and Assistant Professor of Computer Science Richard Wicentowski at his office's floor-to-ceiling whiteboard

 

A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article (subscription required) found that the College's LEED-certified science center has some of the most interesting faculty offices around, but for an unusual reason: The College wanted to reuse an existing building for part of the complex, and the new offices had to fit the old window openings. Pairs of offices fit together in yin-yang fashion - one is narrow at the door end then widens halfway down, while the next is wide by the door and narrows near the window. In the wide portion, each office has a round table big enough to seat two or three, and the yin-yang wall has either a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard or, in the computer-science department, a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard.

Director of Planning and Construction Jan Semler says that when the complex was being planned, professors and students alike wanted round tables at which they could work together. The "bump out" in each office meant that "you could have that meeting space, and have a chalkboard, in a space that was separate from the private work area of the faculty member." It was, she says, "an architectural solution that gives a little variety to what otherwise would have been shoeboxes."/>