Williams College has a strong culture of student-teacher exchange, in which learning often occurs outside the classroom. The Hopper Science Center was the first of two planned additions to the Morley Science Center in order to reinforce this important pedagogical relationship. Pairing new biology, chemistry and physics labs and faculty offices with a range of formal and informal meeting and study spaces, it welcomes students into the sciences. A cascading stair knits together the research labs, offices, study rooms, project alcoves and conference rooms.
Hopper Science Center
Williamstown, MA / United States
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE
Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Psychology, Research Labs, Teaching Lab, Auditorium, Classrooms, Lecture Rooms, Computer Labs, Offices, Shops and Makerspace, Imaging Suite
LEED Platinum Certified
IN THE NEWS
Kevin B. Sullivan, FAIA
Ron Blanchard, AIA, LEED AP
Mark Bandzak, AIA, LEED AP
Doran Abel, AIA, LEED AP
Elizabeth Cox, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP
Michael Mandeville, AIA
Daniel Estes, AIA, LEED AP
Michael J. Quinn, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP
Melanie Silver, AIA, LEED AP
Edin Kostovic, LEED AP BD+C
Adam Anderson, ASLA, LEED AP
Mary Gallagher, IIDA, LEED AP
Yunjung Cho, LEED AP ID+C
Creating Campus Space
Facing east, the cascading stair looks out onto Morley Circle, a former vehicular turnaround transformed into a pedestrian plaza, an exterior social space that is a unique addition to the campus. To the west, a more private Biology Garden is cradled between the new and existing buildings, forming an exterior classroom, with both permanent and temporary plantings curated by the Biology Department. To the south, a tree-lined, gently sloping lawn recalls the original campus landscape and its setting in the Berkshires.
The wall facing Morley Circle is all glass, revealing the stair, with projecting bays highlighting collaborative spaces. Other study alcoves along the interior core give greater depth to the stair hall. Floor-to-ceiling glazing expresses the student spaces in the lab bar, and glassy corners on either end contain break-out lounges. The remainder of the exterior surface is composed of terracotta panels, ribbed in three different ways to create a pattern of varying textures. These panels overlap one another like shingles to create lines of shadow, emphasizing the horizontality of the building.
Photography: © Robert Benson Photography