Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center
Easton, Pa.
Award of Merit

Owner: Lafayette College
General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.
Lead Design Firm: Payette
Civil Engineer: Langan
MEP Engineer: Bard Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: The Harman Group
Owner’s Representative: Aegis Property Group
Subcontractors: Wilmer R. Schultz Inc. (Concrete); Diefenderfer Electrical Contractors Inc.; S. A. Comunale Co. (Fire Protection); Eshbach Brothers (Masonry); Worth & Co. (Mechanical)

In the heart of Lafayette College, the five-story, 104,000-sq-ft academic science and laboratory building’s hillside site sits atop a subsurface rock vein. Installation of two-level foundations required careful blasting and drilling, with underpinning and a lagging wall installed to support existing buildings and other surface features.

Instead of using narrow, twisting campus streets for deliveries, the team established a temporary access road through a nearby plaza. More than 150 deliveries were successfully synchronized with periods of minimal pedestrian traffic. Work hours were adjusted during final exams to limit noise.

With only three square corners on the L-shaped building, trades were challenged to form remaining corners using 18 shapes with varying angles that change with the wall’s elevation. Mechanical systems installed as close to the ceiling as possible maximize straight runs and minimize equipment needs.

The project’s capstone was achieving LEED Platinum certification, which the team says is a rarity for research-intense facilities with high energy demand. Contributing to the achievement was diversion of 75% of construction waste from disposal and incorporating large amounts of recycled content and regional materials into the building. Applications of the project’s many innovative features were demonstrated through an extensive community outreach program that included virtual reality tours for students studying disciplines ranging from structural engineering to the arts.

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