Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Science Facility

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Institution Name: Hartwick College
Original/Historic Place Name: Miller Hall of Science
Location on Campus: Hartwick Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1963original construction The Hillier Group
1999-2001expansion and renovation The Hillier Group
Designer: The Hillier Group (Princeton NJ)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII, Postmodern (Glossary)
Significance: history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick and bluestone exterior; block interior (old portion); steel frame and sheetrock (addition)
Roof: asphalt
1963-present (2006)academic department building (science)

The architecture of the new facility combines the traditional forms found on the first buildings of the original campus with the staid appearance of the 1960s construction. While the addition's native stone base, dark red brick walls, and metal roof continue the older building's materials, its overlap of the original south facade creates a new public front. Here a three-story glass bay window helps mark a new lower level entrance. The four-story tower was created on the corner to accommodate the 30-degree rotation in the campus grid. The tower's big corner windows act as a campus beacon, while providing dramatic views for classrooms that double as conference and reception rooms. The four-story tower anchors one side of an atrium that connects the upper three floors of the building, creating a new social hub for both the building and the campus. This atrium sits on an axis with the main east-west pedestrian and vehicular spine through the campus.

The original science facility, Miller Hall, was constructed in 1963. The building had served Hartwick College well; however, after 36 years with no improvements, the time had come for new facilities. The beginning of construction represents the culmination of an effort led by President Richard Detweiler upon his arrival in 1992, combined with the immeasurable efforts of senior administrators and science faculty. The initial planning was based on the methodologies recommended by Project Kaleidoscope.

In addition to representing a new architectural standard, the facility represented new educational planning approaches as well. The idea of the building began with a vision of science characterized by four main themes. First, it emphasized the use of information technology to explore science. Second, it emphasized an investigative approach to science that begins with hypothesis in introductory level courses and builds to independent research in the more advanced levels. Third, it calls for a lab-rich environment with integrated fieldwork and lectures. And finally, it promotes an interdisciplinary approach to science education.

Programmatically, the College was interested in initiating interdisciplinary courses branching out from the standard offerings of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Geology. Thus, the new interdisciplinary courses to be offered focused on Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences, and Science Communications. This, coupled with the reintegration of the Math, Computer and Information Science, and Nursing programs afforded Hartwick the opportunity to house all activities under a single roof in order to diversify course offerings and meet the ever-changing needs of their students.


"Ideas for Renovating for the Future/Hartwick College/Addition to Miller Hall." Online (2006). Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY.


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Last update: November 2006