San Jose State University
Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB)
A home for modern science education and research
The College of Science at San Jose State University housed programs in three older structures – the Science Building (1957), MacQuarrie Hall (1965) and Duncan Hall (1972) – that were designed for a decidedly different era in research. The Interdisciplinary Science Building represents a definitive move away from those more static environments, which had little space for interaction and collaborative work.
The first phase of a new science precinct, the eight-story, 157,400-square-foot ISB will house teaching and research labs for chemistry and biology, an interdisciplinary Center for High Performance Computing, and a data and science information lab serving the College of Professional and Global Education. "Collaboratories" will adjoin research labs, giving students dedicated space to present and discuss results away from instrument setups and chemicals. Each floor in the building will include additional collaborative hubs – so-called "sticky spaces," less-structured learning spaces designed to encourage students to linger in the academic environment and benefit from informal interactions with other students, as well as staff and researchers.
Located on a constrained site, the ISB required a generally urbanistic approach to design and planning, featuring a highly compact building footprint that achieves high efficiency in plan and preserves adjacent site area for future buildings. Building massing is necessarily simple, and the building configuration articulates two distinct forms: The lower, wider western block houses research and core functions, while the relatively slender eastern block houses class laboratories.
The architectural character communicates a clear expression of the building's content. Related program areas are grouped in continuous, parallel bands, or "laminations," which terminate in distinctive features on the exterior. Each of these has a distinct purpose, an intellectual transparency that is matched by the physically open character of the architecture. The transparency fulfills the university's ambition that the ISB be a beacon, both for the campus and to the community.
When it opens in early 2022, the ISB will be SJSU's first new academic building in more than 30 years and its first new science facility in nearly 50 years.
LocationSan Jose, California