Centerbrook designed a transparent and sociable hall whose mission is to heighten cross-pollination at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The world-renowned research center also is a critical destination for thousands of international scientists to share the latest developments on cancer, neuroscience, human genetics and quantitative biology.

The curvilinear glass and stucco façade of Nicholls Biondi Hall acts as a lantern-like beacon, inviting resident and visiting researchers alike to display and compare their work at frequent conferences, symposia and “poster sessions.” The building is the most recent example of Centerbrook working closely with the laboratory to create collaborative spaces, indoors and out, on the bucolic 110-acre campus.

Over the decades the firm and CSHL have nurtured a “village of science” ethos that affords its more than 400 resident researchers, as well as its many visitors, the opportunity to interact while both at, and away from the laboratories. Experience has shown that insights often emerge through chance encounters in shared spaces, along corridors, in piazzas and courtyards, on terraces and tree-lined walkways down to the harbor, even while tipping a few in the campus pub.

The 3,200-square-foot hall is directly across from the Carnegie Library and creates a academic lawn that enlivens the lower southeast corner of the campus. It is adjacent to Grace Auditorium, where additional gathering spaces for the meetings and courses are available. A brick and stone patio connects the facility’s large poster and conference room with the well-treed landscape and nearby harbor.

The stucco finish and hip-roof form relates to the Library, which is a Mediterranean variant of the Second Renaissance Revival style; the large and sweeping eyebrow dormer frames the magnificent Carnegie building, which was the first research laboratory erected on the 125-year-old campus.

Home to the Ph.D.-conferring Watson School of Biological Sciences, CSHL hosts more than 8,000 visiting researchers and some 325,000 middle and secondary school students annually. While not nearly as large as many of its peers and with a campus that appears (quite deliberately) to be a sleepy hilltop village, CSHL takes a backseat to no one: it is ranked number one in the world by Thomson Reuters for the impact of its research in molecular biology and genetics and it has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners.

Centerbrook has designed nearly 50 projects at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photography © Derek Hayn/Centerbrook