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Ross Barney + Jankowski: the Swenson Science Building - University of Minnesota at Duluth

ArchitectureChicago Plus posting from October 21, 2005


Swenson Science Building - Ross Barney JankowskiSince I'm unlikely to get up to Duluth in the near future - and neither, in all probability - will you, I thought I'd go ahead and post some images from Ross Barney + Jankowski, as well as some additional information, regarding their latest project, the Swenson Science Building at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. The 100,000 square foot, $33,000,000 edifice was dedicated on September 16th, replacing previous chemistry and biology labs built in 1949 and 1968, respectively, and will house over 1,000 students a semester.

The opening was delayed from its originally scheduled January date due to three local teenages who broke into the building while it was under construction last November and managed to cause over $8,000,000 in damage. In a truly startling twist, the Duluth News Tribune has reported that the projects chief benefactor, James I. Swenson, is considering giving the teens, who pleaded guilty to numerous felony charges and ordered to pay over 2
33,000 in restitution, a tour of the campus and scholarships.Swenson Science Building - Plan

According to the university, the new building includes 16 research labs for faculty and post doctoral researchers, 16 teaching labs for 2,100 students, a computer teaching lab, several research support rooms, a student study room, and a central classroom. An "open lab" concept was deployed to "encourage interaction among all researchers in related disciplines. The open lab environment also enables spaces to expand and contract to accommodate changing research schedules."

Ross Barney + Jankowski was part of a project team that included the Duluth firm of Stanius Johnson Architects. A two-story atrium, looking out toward Duluth and Lake Superior, unites the research and teaching labs. An extensive use of glass provides natural daylight for the labs. According to the firm, "Sustainable and native materials are used, including brick, stone and wood." The spiral staircase at the front of the building is said to represent DNA's double helix. Landscaping will include an oval pond and wetland area that will serve as a "rain garden" to process runoff, as well as a teaching area for specific courses. More information can be found on the Ross Barney + Jankowski site. Select Places/Type/University College/UMD Swenson Science Building.

Swenson Science Building Atrium
Swenson Science Building Bridge Swenson Science Building at the University of Minnesota Duluth

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