Yale Science Building, Yale University

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New Haven, Connecticut, USA
295,000 square feet / 27,000 square meters

Yale Science Building (YSB), its plaza, and connective underground concourse will be transformative achievements in campus planning, building design, and scientific programming. Our design—which addresses connectivity, placemaking, and architectural context—establishes it as an active, unifying hub for academic life.

Located in Science Hill, the main design challenges involved developing a cohesive identity among 20 disparate buildings and correcting numerous circulation and access problems. To address issues of aesthetic differences, our design will feature glass façades with copper-colored vertical piers and horizon sun shades to emulate the architectural qualities of other Science Hill buildings.

YSB’s plaza—known as “The Pavilion”— will be the defining centerpiece of Science Hill, promoting a sense of place for collaboration, collegiality, and socializing. Students, faculty, and staff will have a comfortable, inspiring setting with convenient dining options and indoor/outdoor study spaces with natural light and views of the redesigned landscape.

In consideration of access and connectivity discrepancies, a below-grade network of four connecting corridors will provide a path among Sterling Chemistry Building, the Bass MBB labs, Kroon Service Node, and Kline Biology Tower and Concourse, giving direct access to YSB’s flexible core labs, vibration-sensitive physics and image labs, work/study spaces, computational classrooms, and a 500-seat lecture hall. Because of the potential for interdisciplinary interactions, the lab and working spaces will be adaptive for all departments, while remaining focused on the needs of core departments.

Continuing Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Yale’s sustainability efforts, Yale Science Building will be the most energy efficient laboratory building on campus, using only one-half of the energy that is typically used by comparable lab buildings. YSB’s design will also add significant green space, improve stormwater management, maintain treasured 150-year-old oak trees, and recycle 95% of demolition and construction waste. With Yale University’s objective of attaining carbon neutrality by 2050, Yale Science Building marks a significant success toward the university’s goal of a cleaner and more sustainable future.