New complex brings daylight to life sciences students, faculty

The basics: Syracuse (N.Y.) University opened the 230,000-square-foot, $107 million Life Sciences Complex in August 2008. The bright and open atmosphere of the daylit building offers a welcome change for faculty and students who previously worked in darkened rooms, many with no windows. Now almost all work spaces—classrooms, labs and offices—have exterior views. A glass atrium connects new facilities with existing labs and administrative offices, finally putting the chemistry and biology departments under one roof.

The players: Owner, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.; architect, Ellenzweig Associates, Cambridge, Mass.; curtain wall supplier, YKK AP, Austell, Ga.; contract glazier, Ajay Glass Co., Manchester, N.Y.; general contractor, Barr & Barr Builders, Syracuse.

The systems: Custom-engineered framing products, recessed windows, set back about 9 inches from the terra cotta tile façade, providing a shadowbox look. The systems required custom aluminum extrusions that picture frame the windows, meaning the aluminum rests flush with the tile with an exceptional width to reach the inset glass.