CORE10 won the commission to prepare a Facilities Master Plan, and subsequent Design for renovations and new construction at Washington University's Tyson Research Center. This internationally renowned biology field station is uniquely sited on 2000 acres of native landscape originally used by the US Army as an ammunition depot after WWII. Our sustainable and hands-on approach to the planning process revealed some terrific opportunities to repurpose the original military buildings. CORE10 stripped the ammunition warehouse down to its structure and designed new and efficient labs underneath with plenty of sheltered outdoor workspace along a new research garden over the former train tracks of the loading depot. Additionally the original headquarters was restored into a bright new field station. Renovations feature asbestos abatement, site and drainage modifications, composting toilets, grey water harvesting, a new fire pond, and many other environmentally sensitive yet affordable features that will set up Tyson to grow into its future.
This field station was a cluster of miscellaneous structures in the middle of the property, accessible by a long road shared with a tenant using a portion of the property for wild animal rescue and breeding, separate from the labs.
We abandoned a portion of the old central road in favor of a road that angles toward the heart of the new campus. Parking is moved along the east road to serve guests and students. Kitchen and social spaces are integrated to connect Admin and meeting structures with the new labs, creating a campus community.
PROGRAMMING PHASE - TYSON FIELD OBSERVATIONS
We won the commission to reimagine Tyson because of our approach to Programming. Eschewing forms and metrics in favor of spending a summer in the field with the students and faculty, we learned much about what makes field biology and ecology research unique. This translated directly into the design of the labs and their placement on the site.
TYSON LABS - BEFORE
The original labs were in an old repurposed school of Health research building associated with animal medical research, about a quarter mile from the HQ Building. But the really interesting thing about it was the inherent messiness of the work and the use of the outside adjacent slab - none of these features were reflected in previous master planning of the labs but they turned out to be key clues to the way forward. That's what led us to looking hard at the large, conveniently-positioned ammunition warehouses.
Using the warehouses for the new labs provided both tremendous opportunities and some unique challenges. The large 6" flat slab provided an ideal place for the messy outside research activities. However new building codes required a full depth foundation below the new lab. While this was not in the original concept we took advantage of the requirement to add under-slab insulation to complete the continuously insulated envelope of the new labs. The warehouse roof also reduced heat load on both the building envelope and the hvac equipment, saving equipment cost and operating energy.