Howard Hughes Medical Institute Laboratory

December 22nd, 2016

While creating highly specialized research facilities, LLB Architects implemented a strategy to employ common design principals and finishes throughout the complex to tie the incongruous renovations together and create a singular approach for the entire complex. One of the signature classrooms in the Bio-Med building at Brown University is the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Lab (HHMI). The design allows for students to learn hands on, with project based learning in the four corners of the room, taught from the center. This type of advanced learning environment is a key approach for laboratory design at LLB Architects.

Other highlights of the HHMI laboratory classroom design:

  • Inherent flexibility in lab’s design and furnishings
  • Centralized instructor
  • Integrated technologies and utilities
  • Demonstration areas
  • Student surfaces and furniture which promote collaboration/non-hierarchical student workstation arrangements

Brown University Herbarium

December 22nd, 2016

This renovation for Brown University’s Herbarium relocated it from the basement of Arnold Laboratories — a small space designated as “temporary” in 1987, to the second floor of the Bio-Med Center. The 1,600 sf space is large enough to house the current collection, collections from across the campus, and from various conservation groups in Rhode Island, while maintaining space for future collections. The move restored the Herbarium to a place of active research and digitization of the specimens it houses.

The major design challenge for the Herbarium renovation was combining function with an architectural aesthetic that promotes public connectivity to one of the area’s oldest collections of preserved plant species; and doing so within a restricted budget. The program includes a preparation room for cleaning and disinfecting specimens; sorting and processing room for studying, cataloging and preserving specimens; conditioned collections room for housing relocated plant specimens; and administrative support space.

Working closely with Brown University, LLB was able to arrange the program spaces in a manner that allows
proper sequencing for prepping, studying, and collecting specimens without contamination from the outside environment while also providing visual connectivity to the public. This project is a prime example of LLB Architects’ ability to work closely with clients to provide an integrated design the combines function with architectural aesthetic.

Dill Center for the Performing Arts & Stuart Theatre at Brown University

November 7th, 2009

The Dill Performing Arts Center and Stuart Theater project had to not only link architecture from the past and present, but also separate theatre, dance, and administrative areas. The unifying solution provided by LLB Architects enhanced the cross campus walkway network with granite marker icons and harlequin paving systems. A computerized lighting system incorporated marking lights and linear archway lighting to indicate when the various theaters are active.

The complete recasting of the interior of a historic McKim, Mead & White building included the creation of an acting studio from a sub-basement space, incorporation of an orchestra pit and trap room level from space between existing floors, and the addition of a new balcony with light, sound, and director booths. The project also encompassed the complete renovation of the lobby, auditorium, and backstage areas. Bringing character to the original “shoebox” design of the auditorium demanded some creative thinking by LLB. Strategic curved walls were created to enhance visual appeal as well as acoustics. A railing hugs the wall and accentuates the flow of the space, and the addition of a balcony and layered curvilinear liner, which unfurls onto the proscenium arch, makes the space more intimate and distinctive.

The lobby of the Stuart Theatre borrows dramatic shapes and materials from the auditorium it serves. Hovering over the jewel-like ticket booth is a curvilinear form — a nod to the forms found within, as well as the drapery beneath the theater’s symbolic masks of comedy and tragedy. LLB designed the lobby’s staircase to both bring patrons up physically to the new balcony and raise their sense of anticipation as they prepare to take their seats. A flowing brass railing, which appears to levitate along both sides of the sweeping staircase, draws the eye upward and adds to the drama of this welcoming environment. A sculptural lamp at the top of the stairs reflects not only light but also the other design elements of the lobby.