The University Record, May 24 , 1999

Regents briefed on building site, plans to house Institute

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown presented to the Regents several proposed building sites that would accommodate the life sciences‘ physical needs. Above, the slightly shaded areas represent proposed buildings, including parking under one of the structures. Below, a similar design shows a somewhat different configuration of buildings. The Regents expressed concern about available parking in the area and were assured that it would be taken into consideration in completing the plans.

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown presented Phase II of the campus plan to Regents at their meeting in Dearborn last week. Their Philadelphia firm, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, is developing a master plan for the campus.

Their presentation addressed the need for interaction between the Medical Campus and the basic sciences housed on Central Campus by drawing the two toward buildings that would house the Life Sciences Initiative.

The proposed sites border Washtenaw Avenue, East Huron Street and Zina Pitcher Place. Plans include walkways that would enable pedestrian traffic to travel over Washtenaw Avenue near Palmer Field.

Concerns from the Regents were quieted when Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Kasdin said that parking facilities already planned for the area will not be sacrificed to a new building.

Kasdin cautioned that because of the programmatic needs of the buildings, they might not necessarily be the most stately or beautiful buildings on campus. “What you‘re doing is recessive buildings that meet the needs of the program and hopefully, in an aesthetic sense, gently improve the quality of life,” he said.

Scott Brown presented a slide show that ended with possibilities for new buildings at the edges of Central Campus and the Medical Campus that would, she says, help pull the two together and provide an atmosphere for collaborative projects in the life sciences.

Venturi, Scott Brown Associates‘ plans for the area include parking facilities, two non-laboratory buildings—one for academics and one for a cafeteria—and one laboratory building that would encompass all equipment that would be necessary for state-of-the-art research.