Creating a Habitat Where Science Thrives
By Karen M. Jones
"When we started thinking about shaping this building, I looked at it the same way a biologist would look at an ecosystem. In the same way that a lot of things create an ecosystem and put it in proper balance, there are a lot of things that influence a building's shape and create the context."
—Gary Shane, architect, STV Architects Inc.
IT'S MOVE IN DAY FOR THE CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT, and Professor of Chemistry Chris Janzen is being asked where he would like to place an end table. Janzen's office is still rather bare, with all the shelves empty, but the adjacent hallway looks like a haphazard flea market. Computers, a mini-refrigerator and odd pieces of furniture are strewn about, waiting for final resting places. No one is complaining about the chaos, though. It's taken 10 years, dozens of design plans and innumerable decisions, but today all 23 members of the departments of chemistry, biology, and earth and environmental sciences have finally claimed their spaces in Susquehanna's new 81,000-square-foot science building, and already it feels like home.
Eco, or the Greek oikos, means the home, and ecology is the science of how living creatures interact within their home, their environment. Adapting to their accommodations in the new science building—with its 19 teaching and research labs, 30 prep and support spaces, three student resource rooms and rooftop greenhouse—should be fairly easy for faculty, staff and students, since it was designed specifically to meet their professional, academic and very human needs.