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November 1, 2004

UConn Buildings Receive Accolades
from American Institute of Architects

Two of 14 annual design awards announced last week by the Connecticut chapter of the American Institute of Architects will be presented to firms for their work on buildings at UConn that were financed through UConn 2000. The design awards competition attracted 160 entrants.

BioPhysics Building

Photo by Peter Morenus

Allan Dehar Associates of New Haven, the group that designed the Biology/Physics Building, and the firm of Jeter Cook & Jepson Architects Inc. of Hartford, who designed the University’s new Waterbury campus, will join 10 other firms for a Dec. 6 ceremony at the Mark Twain Museum Center in Hartford to celebrate their work. Jeter Cook & Jepson also won an award for a building at Wesleyan University.

“In such a large building the architect was able to break down the spaces and create humane interiors,” judges in the contest said of the Biology/Physics Building, which opened in January 2003. “The public space, which is just beautiful, carries the building. The circulation and energy of the plan is translated beautifully in the volumetric organization of the very handsome structure.”

The building houses offices and labs for faculty in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology; laboratories and a laser facility for the Department of Physics; greenhouses; and a facility for biological collections with more than 125,000 specimens, including birds, mammals, fish, parasites, and vascular plants. The tallest building on the Storrs campus at 110 feet, the building clusters research programs with overlapping interests. The architecture features an atrium with a glass wall overlooking a mini-arboretum.

“The building is not only functional but also beautiful,” Philip Yeagle, professor and head of molecular and cell biology, said during a dedication ceremony last year. “It has laboratories that are a joy to work in, space that permits collaboration with colleagues, and places filled with art and light to hold discussions with students.”

The jurors also praised the Waterbury campus building, whose designers – Jeter Cook & Jepson Architects Inc. – won an award for interior space design based on the building’s classic three-story library. The facility, in downtown Waterbury, opened in fall 2003.

“This wonderful library is in the classical tradition,” the judges wrote. “Clean expressive detailing is a nice counterpoint to this classical tradition.”

The paneled library has stacks that can hold nearly 50,000 volumes, and offers students 30 reading carrels that circle the main reading room from mezzanines on the second and third floors.

The two awards mark the fourth and fifth time the AIA has recognized new UConn buildings in its annual contest. In 2001, both the Lodewick Visitors Center, designed by Flad Associates of Stamford, and the Chemistry Building, designed by Centerbrook Associates, won awards. The Chemistry Building won the AIA’s New England Award for Excellence in Architecture.

In 2002, Perkins Eastman of New York City won an AIA design award for the design of the Stamford campus.