Pearson Hall Renovation
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. Miami planned a major renovation.
The central atrium within Pearson Hall served as a metaphor throughout the project. The renovated design of the atrium 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 that was 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.
Classrooms and common areas have been designed to promote conversation and the sharing of ideas and discoveries. The new labs include long, 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.
A chilled beam system, redesigned airflows, and other improvements collaborated to reduce Pearson Hall’s energy footprint by 50 percent – a result that is expected to earn the building LEED Gold certification.