University of Newfoundland’s STEM building mimics natural elements and local traditions

Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) recently opened a new building that will provide an interdisciplinary learning and research space for science and engineering faculties. The design is inspired by natural elements and local building traditions. The atrium features an 82-foot-long blue whale skeleton that washed up in Newfoundland. This artifact reflects the university’s ocean expertise and inspires scientists and researchers.

The Core Science Facility houses electrical and computer science, and includes research and learning labs, renewable energy programs, and rooftop research labs that overlook solar panels and wind turbines. The teaching lab and research labs are co-located so undergraduate students can participate in graduate research and participate in more hands-on learning opportunities.

The three pavilions of the facility’s tower are connected by two large vertical atria that promote the mixing of students, researchers and instructors from different disciplines. The rugged icebergs of the North Atlantic and the local marine environment inspired the shape and colors of the building.

The lobby on the ground floor is a dynamic social center and another space for interdisciplinary interaction. It also houses aquatic laboratories and a classroom, laboratory and meeting space for the CREAIT (Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training) network.

The second floor is more student-focused, with project studios, computer labs, classrooms, and collaboration areas for hands-on learning. The top three levels contain research labs and learning spaces for graduate students. The co-location of research and teaching laboratories allows students to share specialized equipment, exposing undergraduate students to postgraduate research.

Flexible furniture, modular workstations and flat screens in the laboratory spaces facilitate group work. Windows overlooking these lab and studio spaces provide a view of the research taking place on all five floors.

In terms of sustainability, chilled beams and a heat recovery wheel reduce the building’s energy consumption by 40% compared to a conventional design. The facility also provides private practice space for external partners, including the Ocean Frontier Institute, to work alongside academic researchers.

Construction team:

Owner and/or Promoter: Memorial University Newfoundland
Design architect: HOK
Official architect: HOK
MEP engineer: TTN in association with RG Vanderweil
Structural engineer: DBA in association with Entuitive
General contractor/site manager: MARCO

Courtesy of HOK.
Building MUN STEM int 2
Courtesy of HOK.
Building MUN STEM int 3
Courtesy of HOK.
MUN STEM building lobby int
Courtesy of HOK.

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