Carl Icahn Laboratory

by | 21. Aug 2012

Educational | Feature | Industrial

Photo: arcspace


The atrium has clear uninterrupted panoramic views into the playing field through a lattice-like screen of louvers.

Following a revised version of a May 1999 Princeton Master Plan proposal, the new facility is located on the South Campus of Princeton University.  The Master Plan identifies a triangular site, south of the Lewis-Thomas Laboratory along the northeast edge of a planned ellipse. In final form, the ellipse will define the southern edge of the campus expansion while creating a green space for recreational activity.


Photo: arcspace


A principal goal of the Genomics Institute is to promote the intellectual cross pollination between the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physic, computer science and theory.  Beyond the specific program needs of individual labs, the building’s design was determined by the paramount need for flexibility as research and researchers change with the pace of Genomic science.


Photo: arcspace



Photo: arcspace


Using the triangular site to its best advantage Viñoly designed two perpendicular rectangular building blocks on the northern and eastern edges of the triangular site, and a curved glass facade, enclosing a two-story atrium space,  positioned due south.  By making the southern facade transparent  the atrium space becomes an extension of the exterior.


Photo: arcspace


Thirty-one aluminum louvers, standing 40-feet tall, provide sun screening outside the glass facade. The exterior louver system tracks the sun’s movement throughout the year, taking full advantage of the building’s southern exposure.

Because of the additional sun shading provided by the louver system, heat gain is lessened in the atrium dramatically reducing the total cooling load on the building HVAC  system.  The effectiveness of the solar shading system made it feasible to use clear glazing, albeit low-e glass for the curtain wall.


Photo: arcspace


The custom designed system of  thirty-one individual  motors and hydraulics jacks, which drive the movement, can be repaired or replaced by University engineers with standard available parts.


Photo: arcspace



Photo: arcspace


The soaring atrium space contains  a small auditorium below a circular lounge area, various seating areas  and a coffee shop.   A casual meeting room in a Frank Gehry sculpture, originally planned for the Peter Lewis house, invites scientists to interact and exchange ideas.  The changing light  throughout the day, and the shadows created by the the lattice-like screen of louvers, makes the atrium a cheerful and inviting space.


Photo: arcspace


In addition to the exterior louver design, to shade the atrium, other daylighting devices were used to enhance and tie together the rest of the program. In the  two large cantilevered conference rooms, a Viñoly signature design, a combination of unusually tall clerestories and automated screening devices maximize the daylighting appropriate for a room of that function.


Photo: arcspace


The specialized laboratories, that occupy two levels of the buildings, are made up entirely of demountable systems.  These systems consists of modular lab bench and cantilever casework systems as well as modular partitions.  Utilizing these systems allows whole labs to be taken apart systematically and reconfigured to fit the needs  of the next research project with significantly less labor, time and disruption, than conventional construction. The mechanical infrastructure that feeds the two lab blocks is located on top of the building.

The vivarium and the mechanical systems are located in the basement where an  underground tunnel connect the next door Lewis/Thomas Laboratory Building to the Genomics Building.  Several classrooms will be added at the basement level.


Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsModel


Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsSite Plan


Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsGround Floor Plan


Drawing courtesy Rafael Viñoly ArchitectsSection Rafael Viñoly also designed the Princeton University Stadium.


Photo: arcspace



CITY Princeton, New Jersey
ARCHITECT Rafael Viñoly
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Quennell Rothschild & Partners