Since its construction in 1961 the David A. Straz, Jr., Center for Natural and Social Sciences has undergone only minor renovations and upgrades. But recent growth in enrollment had Carthage College renovating and expanding the building—transforming it into a modern, open, and transparent learning facility. Something that put science on display.
Labs contain exposed building systems painted to match the underside of the structure. Varied ceiling planes washed by a large partially-recessed light fixture accentuate clustered entrances to the instructional spaces. Custom wood benches, flush wood paneling, and tackable surfaces flank the entrances, doubling as both wayfinding guides and functional space.
On opposite sides of the corridor in the east addition, faculty offices and research labs share collaborative zones (that occupy the voids between). These student-centered spaces look out onto Lake Michigan and utilize changes in height, material, and lighting to set them apart from the main corridor.
These additions to the Straz Center modernize it and help Carthage College keep their students immersed in science.