Reem and Kayden Center | Rafael Viñoly | Architecture

The Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation Bard College


The recipient of a 2007 AIA New York State Citation for Design, The Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation demonstrably highlights Bard College’s increased commitment to the integration of the sciences into its liberal arts curriculum.


The initial phase of the Center, a 49,000-square-foot structure, provides space for the biology, computer science, and mathematics departments in a facility equipped with state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, high-tech classrooms, and a sixty-person auditorium.
Constructed in a prominent, central campus location, the design solution for this program paid close attention to site planning as well as spatial composition that encourages student-faculty interaction in informal spaces. Conceived specifi cally for its context, the Center is a gently curving metal-clad structure set low to the ground in a clearing. Cantilevered over the axis generated by the campus walk, the building creates a visual connection with the heart of the college grounds yet allows the path to continue. Respectful of its natural environment, it is both multifunctional and inspirational.

The Center’s design incorporates glass exterior walls, a large atrium, and an open floor plan featuring flexible, multidisciplinary spaces for teaching, research, and discussion. The building is organized around a central spine that contains vertical circulation, support spaces, and MEP distribution services, negotiating between the teaching and research laboratories to the west and public spaces to the east. Vestibules pass through the spine from the lobby to access the laboratories: large and open interactive spaces shared by students and faculty. Designed for easy reconfiguration to accommodate new initiatives, the laboratories are equipped with moveable benches and a customized bollard system that provide fl exible distribution of the infrastructure utilities necessary for advanced scientifi c study and research.

All of the laboratory spaces face a wooded area to the west through a full-height curtain wall system that stretches the length of the building. Within the lobby, overlooking the undulating landscape to the east, are four freestanding pods clad in copper, stainless steel, and zinc that contain an auditorium, two lecture rooms, and a seminar room, with public gathering areas between them. Faculty offices cantilever above the lobby on the second fl oor, accessed via an open corridor that overlooks the lobby and expands to study terraces over the pods.

The second phase of the building, a 20,000-square-foot chemistry extension, continues the formal extrusion and building organization to the south, strengthening and enhancing the project’s initial concept.
“Science at Bard has a new impetus,” says Rafael Viñoly. “Thanks to the vision and generosity of Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden, Dr. Leon Botstein, the president of the college, asked us to give their program a place that refl ected their extraordinary commitment to architectural quality as well as sensitivity to the landscape of the campus, and an inspirational environment for what is today perhaps the most promising and exciting of all intellectual pursuits. The building is a reflection of that vision—a place that elevates the experience of research and discovery, providing the flexibility and efficiency that the field requires.”

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