The renovation of the Jones Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's first building, dramatically combines the old and the new. The exterior of the structure, built in 1895, was immaculately restored. Inside, the existing ceiling and walls of yellow pine were patched, cleaned, and varnished.

The interior, however, presented a challenge in adapting a quaint old laboratory for state-of-the art electrophysiology research. This dictated that each lab area be isolated from other lab spaces and the building itself to avoid acoustical, electrical, or vibration disturbance of the highly sensitive instruments and experiment procedures.

The solution was to isolate each laboratory on its own foundation and shield it electrically from its neighbors by a grounded aluminum skin. Precise temperatures are maintained in the labs, while greater variations in temperature can be tolerated in the spaces between the aluminum pods. These "between" spaces widen at an old stone fireplace at the center of one of the laboratory's two long walls. Here are comfortable chairs and an atmosphere congenial to relaxation and discussion, because learning and discovery happen not only in the lab spaces, but also in the places where scientists meet and talk with each other informally.

Photography © Derek Hayn, Centerbrook, Norman McGrath, Susan Lauter