Built in a time when biological sciences labs tended to be closed-in spaces where students and researchers worked in isolation and classrooms were rigid and formal spaces, Miami University’s Pearson Hall was in desperate need of a refresh. Not only had the prevailing approaches to research and teaching shifted toward more openness and collaboration, but the equipment needed to conduct research had changed in the 30-plus years since the Hall opened.
To address these needs, Miami University planned a major renovation. To allow programs to continue operating during renovations of Pearson Hall, appropriate “swing space” was first developed in Hughes Hall, and science programs were temporarily relocated in the multi-purpose labs. This facilitated the renovation of existing space into classrooms and common areas promote conversation and the sharing of ideas and discoveries. The new labs include extended, movable workbenches and desks with multiple functions and modular spaces. Large pieces of equipment have been placed in centralized locations, and movable lab casework and overhead utility connections allow labs to be easily reconfigured.
The central atrium within Pearson Hall served as a metaphor throughout the project. The atrium’s renovated design reinvented the space while maintaining the core of its purpose – bringing people together through a connection to daylight.
The renovated design converted an underused courtyard surrounded on four sides into a bright, airy internal space. Topped by a pyramid of glass, the space now welcomes students and faculty, serving its original intent as a place to step away from the classroom and be immersed in natural light.
Another feature of the renovation is the energy efficiency of the facility. Chilled beam system, redesigned airflows, and other improvements collaborated to reduce Pearson Hall’s energy footprint by 50 percent – a result that contributed to the attainment of the LEED Gold certification.
Architecture, Engineering, Planning
Targeting LEED Gold certification