O'Brien/Atkins Associates & The Freelon Group - Biomanufacturing Research Institute Technology Enterprise (BRITE), Durham, North Carolina Print E-mail
Monday, 30 August 2010 07:30

We continue the series on the 2010 Architecture for Education (CAE) Awards with a research institute in North Carolina.
BRITE Center is a key component of North Carolina's statewide public-private initiative to provide a hands-on learning experience for undergraduate and graduate students interested in careers in the State's growing biotechnology industry. Faculty and students train in flexible research labs designed to accommodate instrumentation commonly found in biotechnology work environments. and often donated by the local biotech community. The east and west elevations are derived metaphorically from an unfolded DNA strand, reflective of the building's teaching mission. The BRITE Center shares resources with the adjacent Mary Townes Science Building, creating a dynamic science quad on the NCCU campus.


Site Plan
Project positioning in relationship to the campus
As explained by the Freelon Group on their web site, the project is an addition to the Mary M. Townes Science Building, the BRITE building consists of 56,300 Sq. Ft. of research and teaching laboratories. While connected to the Science Center for pedagogical purposes, the intent of BRITE was to establish its own image and story within the campus. The east and west elevations are derived metaphorically from an unfolded DNA strand. The DNA metaphor is reflective of the building's bio-manufacturing teaching mission. While standing apart in scale and form, the building uses similar materials to harmonize with its surrounding context.
The plan for BRITE is a simple stratification of office, circulation, lab support and lab from east to west respectively. The east elevation facing the courtyard is a semi-transparent curtain wall while the west elevation is masonry with vertical windows. The east/office side of the building facing the courtyard is thought of as more expressive of the individual (faculty) and thus more contemplative and connected to the green space through transparency. The west side is conceived as a team environment and cloistered by a masonry shell which protects the interior environment from the western sun.
NCCU_BRITE_09NCCU_BRITE_13NCCU_BRITE_10Visibility for BRITE is a driving factor for the planning of the project. The mechanical systems on the roof above the laboratories are screened by a perforated roof which turns down to create a 45-foot high modern archway. This archway, highly visible from the east and west, become a gateway for the campus and a highly visible entrance for BRITE.
NCCU_BRITE_03NCCU_BRITE_06Project details:

Design Architect: Freelon
Lab Programming and Planning: Freelon
Architect of Record: O'Brien/Atkins Associates
Photography: James West
Location: Durham, NC
Built Area:
56,300 SQ FT


Photographs are conrtesy of the AIA

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Comments (1)Add Comment
written by fafa, December 23, 2010
Very informative post...thank you.

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