Carnegie Building Expanded, Renovated

Published on June 10th, 2010

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island recently celebrated the renovation and expansion of its historic Carnegie Building, which houses the world-renowned institution’s growing library and archives, as well as study, meeting, and computer rooms.

Centerbrook Architects, led by partner Jim Childress, partner emeritus Bill Grover, Todd Andrews, Ken MacLeod, and Vicki McCourt, oversaw the renovations and designed the new annex to the 105-year-old building.

CSHL President Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. and Fellow of the Royal Society, presided over the opening ceremonies that included remarks by two Nobel Laureates: Sydney Brenner, Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Crick-Jacobs Center of the Salk Institute, and James D. Watson, CSHL Chancellor Emeritus. Ludmila Pollock, Executive Director of the Library & Archives, praised Centerbrook for their design of the annex that “beautifully integrates it with the original Carnegie Building.”

Renovations of the existing two-story structure encompassed replacing interior walls, ceiling, lighting fixtures, wiring and plumbing as well as the restoration of much of classical oak trim, and stair rails, and banisters.

The Carnegie Building has played an important role in the history of American science. For example, it was where plant scientist George H. Shull discovered the value of “hybrid vigor” in corn genetics in 1908, a finding that eventually led to the tripling of commercial corn yields in the United States between 1930 and 1980. In 1953 scientific facilities were removed from the building, which then became a library.

Since the 1970s, Centerbrook have worked to renovate more than a dozen CSHL buildings and designed a dozen more, including the recently completed Hillside Campus complex that expanded research capacity by 40 percent.