Chapter 2 of 24
Molecular Biology Laboratory, Princeton University
RV: The Molecular Biology Laboratory building at Princeton University is the project that is interesting us the most at the moment and that we're in the middle of. It's the biggest building we've ever designed. It's interesting because we're the architects responsible for the exterior design of the building. Payette and Associates of Boston, who are experts in research laboratories, are responsible for the interior of the building.
We are very happy about this building also because it's the fourth or fifth or sixth project that we've received from Princeton University, so they obviously like the work we've done before.
It's one of the most difficult projects we've ever had because, the way we've designed it, its architectural expression depends very much on pattern, on exterior pattern, and pattern is something that we have been advocating for a long time. On the other hand, pattern is very, very difficult to do. It's something none of us architects have any practice in, something that was thrown away at the beginning of this century, that element of architecture. And the pattern on this building is the thing which is giving it a great deal of its quality.
It's especially interesting too because the interior requirements of the building require that it be very big, very long and essentially have a very boring shape, if not an awkward shape. The shape turns out to be almost that of a shoebox and the design requirements for flexibility inside demand that the building be rather severe on the outside. So we have had to, as it were, camouflage the awkwardness of the shape by the appliqué of different patterns.