Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Knott Science Center Addition

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Institution Name: College of Notre Dame of Maryland
Original/Historic Place Name:
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1998-2000original construction; groundbreaking September 26, 1998; opening for classes January 2000; dedication April 28, 2000 Stern, Robert A. M. George Vaeth Associates
Designer: Robert A. M. Stern; George Vaeth Associates
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance:
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: cement
Walls: brick
Roof: asphalt shingles
 
Function:
2000-present (2006)academic department building (Chemistry and Biology laboratories and classrooms)
 

Narrative:
The Knott Science Center Addition was designed by noted architect Robert A. M. Stern, founder and senior partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York and dean of the Yale School of Architecture. The building, along with the renovation of the College's Meletia Hall in 1999, were among the first projects in Baltimore to be managed by this internationally-renowned firm.

The 40,000 square foot facility demonstrates the College's commitment to educating women in the sciences. A report issued by the Department of Education in 20001 noted that while girls and women have made strides toward equity with males in higher education, they are still far less likely to major in the sciences. As a college primarily for women, Notre Dame seeks to educate leaders in fields where women are under-represented.

The $9 million structure is an addition to the Knott Science Center, which was constructed in 1967 and is part of the College's master plan for expansion and renewal of the campus. While the primary objective of the addition was to provide needed laboratory and classroom space, its architectural design also sought to integrate the original building with the style and character of other campus buildings. In the College's Master Plan for the Next Century, Robert A. M. Stern Architects state, "The Knott Science Building represents a nadir in the College's architectural history even if the building successfully satisfied a pressing functional need….It acknowledges neither the orientation established by Gibbons Hall nor that of College (by now Mary Meletia) Hall. The Knott Science Building…architecturally assumes no convictions other than those of an apparently windowless, brick box." The architectural integration acheived through the firm's addition is explained in the book, Robert A.M. Stern: Buildings & Projects, 1999-2003: "…the addition to the Knott Science Center, [is] a …four-story wing providing state-of-the-art laboratories, support space, classrooms, and offices, as well as a dignified entrance to what was, at best, a workhorse building from 1961. Stylistically, the new wing refers to the Gothic of Gibbons Hall (1873), the college's first building and still its most important."2

1Trends in Educational Equity for Girls and Women, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, 2000.

2 Peter Morris Dixon, ed. Robert A. M. Stern: Buildings & Projects, 1999-2003 (New York: Monacelli Press): 300-2.
 

References:

Dixon, Peter Morris, ed. Robert A. M. Stern: Buildings & Projects, 1999-2003. New York: Monacelli Press, 2003.

Robert A. M. Stern Architects. "History of the College's Physical Development." College of Notre Dame of Maryland Master Plan for the Next Century. New York: Robert A. M. Stern Architects, 1996.

 

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Last update: November 2006