What’s a college science building supposed to look like? These days, we expect the architectural equivalent of an iPhone, with acres of smooth glass and silvery steel and maybe some aerodynamic fins to suggest the craft is ready for takeoff on a mission of discovery. Because those elements are now synonymous with technical innovation, they’re an easy shorthand to signify the presence of “the sciences.” But labs didn’t always resort to such literalist branding. It used to be that the building that housed the university science department was indistinguishable on the outside from the one where the English department resided.
December 1, 2015