Schiller Coastal Studies Center

The Bowdoin College Schiller Coastal Studies Center took a giant step forward in its marine study and research capabilities by expanding with six new buildings designed to honor the natural setting and imbue the feel of a Maine camp.


Bowdoin College

Location Harpswell, Maine
Size 15,500 Sq. Ft.
Program dry lab, faculty apartment, cabins, conference center, meeting rooms, serving kitchen, dining, lounge
Year Completed 2020
Photo Credit Centerbrook; Bowdoin College

Following the completion of its site use master plan for the satellite campus, Centerbrook designed 15,500 square feet of new construction at the picturesque site overlooking the Harpswell Sound on Orr’s Island in Maine. The project is highlighted by a dry lab and the Living & Learning Building. The remaining four new buildings are residential – a first for the island campus.

The 4,200-square-foot lab includes teaching, research, preparation and support spaces to facilitate the Schiller Coastal Studies Center’s marine, estuarine, and terrestrial research and teaching. It will more than double the Schiller Center’s lab space.

The Living & Learning Building provides spaces for classes, conferences, and dining, and will be Passive House Certified. Similar to a summer camp lodge, the 4,950-square-foot building includes a serving kitchen, dining and lounge area with water views, a seminar room, a picturesque wrap-around porch and outdoor patio.

The four residential buildings consist of a 900-square-foot cabin apartment and three six-bedroom cabins, each 1,800 square feet. The dwellings include a shared bathroom, lounge, and front porch. The designs incorporate Passive House principles in accordance with Bowdoin’s climate action plan.

In addition to the primary teaching and research functions, this expansion will allow the Schiller Coastal Studies Center to serve as a space for facility for retreats, dialogue, and collaboration among local and national leaders working to address critical issues of coastal and climate concern.

The Schiller Coastal Studies Center is located in Harpswell, approximately 13 miles from Bowdoin’s main campus in Brunswick. The Harpswell campus consists of 118 acres and 2.5 miles of shoreline. One of the main goals of the Schiller Center is to support and encourage independent student research and projects. It is also home to the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester, a fall semester intensive immersion experience in marine field work, lab work, and independent research.

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Promotional video by Bowdoin College