Category Archives: Clients

Historical Context

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (Centerbrook Architects/James Corner Field Operations)

Our current job designing the expansion and renovation of the historic Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is fascinating in a number of ways. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t encourage you to read more about that on our project page, but in this blog post I wanted to share a neat historical tidbit that ties the Peabody with another prominent past client.

Like any of our renovation projects, I try to poke around the internet and find out all I can about a building’s history. And one of the pieces I always look for is who was the original architect. With the Peabody Museum, I was fairly quickly able to discover that it was designed by Charles Klauder. That was confirmed by an image of the original plans our architectural staff had attained.

Peabody Museum plans, dated March 21, 1923 (Yale University)

My inquiring mind then wanted to know more about Klauder. I quickly learned that he was one of the most notable campus architects of the 20th century, and he started in the profession at age 15! His list of design credits include institutions like Brown, Cornell and Princeton.

With a passion for sports history, I immediately recognized the name of perhaps his most famous campus building: the Cathedral of Learning at Pittsburgh. It was from atop the Cathedral that this famous and stunning image was taken of the 1960 World Series at Forbes Field below.

For the non-baseball historian, the Cathedral of Learning is notable as it is the tallest education building in the U.S. at 42 stories. It’s an icon not only of the University of Pittsburgh, but of the city itself.

Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh (Don Burkett/Wikimedia Commons)

After learning Klauder designed the Cathedral at Pitt, next I noticed he did Franklin Field at Penn. Wow. The Palestra, too. Double wow. Now you’re talking my language. Each of those venues oozes with sports history.

Franklin Field is home to the famed Penn Relays, Quakers football, and once upon a time the Philadelphia Eagles. Franklin is where the Eagles’ last NFL championship prior to this past season was clinched, and where the infamous Santa Claus incident took place.

The Palestra is a revered basketball cathedral. It has held more college hoops games than any court in the nation, for Penn, the Big Five and many others. It was at the leading edge of arena design at the time as it was one of the first without interior support pillars that obstructed sightlines.

The Palestra, University of Pennsylvania (Peetlesnumber1/Wikimedia Commons)

All that said, now back to my original point of tying the Peabody Museum to our previous work.

Klauder is also highly regarded for his master plan for the University of Colorado at Boulder. This was significant in that it established a distinct building style, later referred to as Tuscan Vernacular Revival, that CU is known for to this day. Klauder further set the precedent by subsequently designing 15 buildings on campus in the style.

In the 2000s, we added two new buildings to the CU landscape. Prior to that, recent building had strayed from the Tuscan Vernacular. But with the Wolf School of Law Building and the Center for Community, our designers built on the style Klauder established.

Center for Community and Wolf Law School, University of Colorado (Jeff Goldberg/ESTO)

Fast forward to 2018, and here we are once again, with an an opportunity to add to another Klauder design, this time at Yale. While the interior renovations will provide the first substantial modernization in the building’s history, the addition and new tower is a modern ode to the existing iconic design that has stood the test of time.

Much like the effort we started a decade ago in Colorado.

Addition, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (Centerbrook Architects/James Corner Field Operations)

Science and Architecture: Back to the Future!

This anaglyph-style rendering of Demerec Laboratory was created for Harbor Transcript’s 3D summer issue. If you can find 3D glasses, give it a shot!

As advancements in 3D visualization push the boundaries of virtual and augmented realities, you can imagine our surprise when longtime client Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory asked if we could create a “retro” rendering for use with 3D glasses to feature in the Summer 2017 issue of the Harbor Transcript. This rendering style looks to the past as CSHL and our design team rediscover a 1950s building that has been occupied by some of the laboratory’s most notable scientists—including Nobel laureates Alfred Hershey, Barabara McClintock, Richard Roberts, and Carol Greider—and transform it into a modern research facility.

Anaglyph images, the kind intended for viewing with 3D glasses, were first used in the late 1800s and came to prominence in U.S. cinema in the 1920s. Mainstream use in newspapers, magazines, and comic books flourished into the 1950s and ‘60s, engraining the iconic red-and-blue-lensed glasses into the cultural zeitgeist. At that same time, future Nobel laureates McClintock and Hershey were conducting their research within the newly constructed Demerec Laboratory building. Completed in 1953 during the Brutalist architecture movement, the building is brought to life in the anaglyph image which highlights the strong repetitive vertical window patterning that defined a new era of architecture in the 1950s-70s.

Aaron Trahan (far right) presents the Demerec anaglyph rendering to the office during a “Friday Dessert” session.

The biannual Harbor Transcript publication highlights current research and news across campus about scientists at the forefront of their fields. In the most recent issue, CSHL saw an opportunity to create a more dynamic and immersive experience accessible to all recipients. The unique “3D Science” issue features anaglyph imagery from current cancer research as well as a rendering of the proposed renovations and addition to the Demerec Laboratory building that our firm is involved in. Construction is slated to begin this summer on a renovation and expansion to house the new Center for Therapeutics Research, a new $75 million initiative that aims to apply the Laboratory’s biomedical expertise toward advancing therapeutics for genetic diseases.

In our office, research and testing is ongoing to study how advancements in virtual and augmented reality can benefit our design process. These burgeoning technologies allow an immersive experience for clients to gain an understanding of the volume and form of a building design that cannot be achieved with traditional renderings and animations. With all of their promise, these technologies currently fall short in their feasibility for mass distribution due to the necessity of headsets, apps, or tethering to computers.

In contrast, anaglyph images pair perfectly with print media because the iconic red and blue glasses can be easily inserted into a publication. This realization of the simplicity of what is now a “retro” technology is a perfect metaphor for the Demerec Laboratory renovations that seek to bring back the simplicity and beauty of a building from the same era. Creation of this image was a reminder that with ever-evolving technology, the best means to convey a project to a large audience isn’t always the most advanced.

This story also appears at CSHL’s newsblog LabDish. Our Demerec design team includes: Todd Andrews, Reno Migani, Aaron Trahan, Ken Cleveland, Frank Giordano, Scott Allen, Justin Hedde and Hugo Fenaux.

Ties That Bind

Reese Stadium, Yale University.

Past and present have connected in New Haven County for a pair of our longstanding clients.

Construction of the new athletic complex at Quinnipiac University began last fall on the Mt. Carmel campus in Hamden, Connecticut, and will continue through the remainder of the academic year. As a result, the Bobcat men’s and women’s lacrosse teams needed a temporary home for their respective 2017 schedules.

Enter Yale University and Reese Stadium, also one of our projects.

The Reese job entailed a significant renovation and expansion of what was then a 30-year-old facility. The modernized lacrosse and soccer stadium reopened in 2011.

Six years later, Reese has welcomed its neighbors to the north. The 1,250-seat stadium is serving as host venue for Quinnipiac’s 2017 home contests.

The Bobcat women’s lacrosse squad has already played twice at Reese. The first resulted in a win. The second was technically an away game as it came versus the primary inhabitants of the facility – the Bulldogs of Yale – and ended in defeat. They’ll be back at Reese this weekend for one of five remaining games there on the calendar.

A preseason favorite to win its conference title, the Bobcat men’s lacrosse team held the first of six “home” games at Reese this past weekend and fell by a narrow one-goal margin. Unlike the women, the Quinnipiac and Yale men aren’t scheduled to face each other in 2017. Both made the NCAA Tournament last year, however, so you never know what the future may hold.

Quinnipiac’s new lacrosse and soccer venue, as well as an adjacent field hockey facility, will open for competition later this year.

Construction progress at the new Quinnipiac complex. The lacrosse-soccer facility is in the foreground with field hockey in the background. Photo courtesy FIP Construction.

Notes from the Cube: Is Biomass a Viable Fuel Source?

Hotchkiss School, Heating Plant, Location: Lakeville CT, Architect: Centerbrook Architects

At last Friday’s “Dessert in the Cube”, Mark Herter, one of our sustainable building experts, discussed the future of biomass as a renewable thermal energy source. Mark has addressed several industry groups on the topic, including the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Biomass Heat and Power Conference.

Mark described the pros and cons of wood chips and pellets as an energy source. The public often has the impression that wood fuel is not sensible given the environmental impact of harvesting, emissions from combustion, ready access to forestland, and the special equipment required. This has slowed acceptance of the industry.


However, when harvested using sustainable forest management, and if near to a fuel source, biomass energy can be an economically and environmentally viable alternative to fossil fuels. Mark demonstrated this in Centerbrook’s Biomass Heating Plant at The Hotchkiss School, whose wood chips displace more than 150,000 gallons of fuel oil annually. With its advanced electrostatic precipitator removing nearly all particulates from the combustion, it cuts sulphur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent and provides fertilizer for the school’s organic farm.

Hotchkiss School, Heating Plant, Location: Lakeville CT, Architect: Centerbrook Architects

We never overlook a sustainable option here at Centerbrook.

It’s Hammer Time!

Far Brook School

We’ve been working with Far Brook School in Short Hills, New Jersey to design new buildings to house their arts and science programs. It’s a special place; clapboard-sided, mission-driven. Students there get to learn by making things with their hands. One of the buildings is fitted with a full wood shop featuring wheeled workbenches, hand tools, a short-throw projector, and ample space for kids to hammer, saw, drill, sand, rasp and shape.


Unknown One of our finishing touches will be a sign above the shop’s front door, tucked into a gable. But it’s not just any sign, it’s a half-moon shape adorned with eight claw hammers. Four facing left, four facing right. Designed by Centerbrook and custom fabricated in steel by a local company, Asterisk, it will be a whimsical reminder to all who enter that the tools of learning need not be high tech but still require skill and patience to use effectively. Pre-distressed using an eco-friendly, chemically-induced weathering process, its rustic patina fits the honest character of Far Brook School.

Thanks to Mary Lynn Radych for the computer model, and to Patrick McCauley, our craftsman extraordinaire, for giving endless advice and building the mockup. I’ll be installing the sign very soon.

40 Years Building a Connecticut Cultural Treasure

Florence Griswold Museum

I was delighted to read this article about Jeffrey Andersen, our longtime client and Director of the Florence Griswold Museum. The museum is celebrating his 40th year on the job with a new exhibition, “Ten/Forty: Collecting American Art at the Florence Griswold Museum,” on view through the end of May.

In an era where museum directors hopscotch with abandon, Jeff’s enduring leadership has been instrumental in transforming an antique house into a nationally-recognized home for American Impressionism. We’ve been honored to work with Jeff and his committed Board of Trustees to make a place where scholars and families alike come to experience art, history, music, and community in an exquisite natural setting. He’s managed to do all this while keeping up with the times and preserving Miss Florence’s legacy. That’s no easy feat in the museum world.

The Day: The art of leadership: Jeffrey Andersen marks 40 years as the Florence Griswold Museum’s director

The Secret is Out!


On Thursday, The New York Times profiled the success of Quinnipiac University’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Connecticut hockey fans have known for a while that QU is a Division 1 powerhouse. We’re proud of the TD Bank Sports Center’s role in recruiting great players.

Quinnipiac University


This year both teams are poised to win national titles. We’ll be in the stands tonight for the men’s ECAC quarterfinal against Cornell, and on Saturday when the women kick off their NCAA championship bid against Clarkson. Go Bobcats!

The New York Times: ‘This Is a Hockey School’: Quinnipiac Students and Polls Agree

Mystic Seaport Museum Progress


The new Thompson Exhibit Building at Mystic is advancing rib by curvaceous rib. The office recently had a chance to visit the site and see the progress.


This animation produced by the contractor, A/Z Corporation, shows the phases of construction.

More photos and recent coverage of the project:

Not just building ships at Mystic Seaport -The Day

Rainwater Collection at SCSU

The new rainwater harvesting system for the Academic and Laboratory Science Building at Southern Connecticut State University shows how the system collects rainwater and highlights the water’s pathway down to a 40,000-gallon storage tank below ground, thus reducing the use of potable water for the site irrigation by 50 percent.

The new 97,900-square-foot building is scheduled to open for the fall semester.

via Southern Connecticut State University’s Facebook page

A Building’s First Birthday

Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School

It seems like such a cliché to say “how time flies” or to talk about how fast the kids grow up, but we’ve all done it and it rings true. Birthdays come and go, but the early ones are often the most exciting and celebratory. It is no exception with buildings: I can hardly believe that just one year ago McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall opened their doors to the students and faculty of Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School.

Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School

MICDS’ aspirations were inspired and noble – construct a sustainable environment to support a highly innovative curriculum that will enable students to create, problem solve, experiment, and succeed. The MICDS leadership of Lisa Lyle, Head of School, and Becky Young, Chief Financial Officer, assembled an amazing team and led a process to make this project a success.

But success can really only be measured once the building comes alive with inhabitants. Will the spaces stimulate and improve the leaders of tomorrow’s lives? This MICDS video offers some clues.

Jim Childress and I were privileged and honored to work on this project with so many wonderful people in St. Louis: designers, engineers, craftsman, and of course the MICDS community; so on behalf of our team, I wish McDonnell Hall and Brauer Hall a Happy Birthday!

Project team

Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLP – Architect
Northstar Management Co, LLC – Owner’s Representative
BSI Constructors, Inc. – Construction Manager
Bryant Dieso, LLC – Green Building and LEED Consultant
Civil Engineering Design Consultants – Civil Engineer
Alper Audi, Inc. – Structural Engineer
William Tao and Associates, Inc. – MEPFP Engineer
SWT Design – Landscape Architect
Cavanaugh Tocci Associates – Architectural Acoustics
Kalin Associates – Architectural Specifications
CI Select – Interior Furnishings
Heitman Associates – Building Envelope Consultants
PR Sherman – Code Consultant