Tunable Lighting: Mimicking the Natural Progression of Daylight

Tunable Lighting:
Mimicking the Natural Progression of Daylight

Tunable lighting, a dynamic LED technology, plays a crucial role in creating learning environments that support student well-being and academic performance. It offers adjustable color temperatures and intensities that mimic daylight, enhance student health, aid teachers in creating optimal learning environments, and guide student behavior within classrooms.

Health and Well-being

One of the primary ways tunable lighting promotes health is by supporting the synchronization of circadian rhythms. Light can be adjusted throughout the day to help regulate sleep-wake cycles, stimulating alertness during learning hours and fostering better sleep quality at night. These factors may contribute to improved concentration, mood stability, and overall well-being among students and teachers.

Optimizing Learning Environments

Tunable lighting allows educators to customize classroom ambiance according to specific activities and learning needs. For example, cooler tones may be chosen to promote focus and productivity while warmer tones set the stage for relaxed and creative pursuits. In addition to supporting diverse learning styles, this adaptability has been shown to enhance student engagement and academic performance.

Behavior Cues

Research suggests that exposure to specific light wavelengths can positively affect some of the challenging behaviors associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In these cases, tunable lighting can improve social interactions in classrooms and support behavior management.

The positive effects of tunable lighting are still being evaluated. Nonetheless, many educators are already welcoming this technology into their classrooms as part of a holistic program for using LED lighting to create engaging environments.

Four HMFH-designed schools are or will be programmed to include tunable lighting technology:

This new school for 1,755 students includes a total of 25 rooms that incorporate tunable lighting technology. Arlington’s extensive adoption plan for this new technology will offer HMFH the potential for broad and deep post-occupancy evaluation.

Bristol County Agricultural High School is a design-award winning project, notable for its deep sustainability program and unique, hands-on learning environment. Here, tunable lighting supports specialized lab spaces which are part of its Natural Resource Management program.

Bristol-Plymouth is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2026. The school prioritizes health and well-being through multiple initiatives including a healthy material pilot program as well as the implementation of tunable lighting in special education spaces.

Saugus Middle High School is a STEAM-driven, design-award-winning project that has incorporated tunable lighting technology into a total of 10 classrooms. Natural daylight floods the building’s interior and is strategically complemented by tunable lighting technology.

HMFH is committed to designing exceptional schools composed of healthy, sustainable, and environmentally efficient environments. Leveraging the power of daylight is central to our design philosophy and is prioritized throughout every school we serve. And now, tunable lighting offers educators an unprecedented level of control when using light to optimize learning environments, manage classroom behaviors, and promote overall student health and wellbeing. When deployed as part of an overall light management strategy, tunable lighting technology can support transformative outcomes.

Arlington High School Phase Two Opens

Arlington High School Phase Two Opens

Phase Two of the Arlington High School project is newly opened and offers students expanded educational and extracurricular opportunities from a wide range of contemporary spaces for learning, gathering, and activity.

“It’s a really outstanding design, and watching the students get to enjoy it and hang out in the various spaces for the first time was really quite moving.”

Jim Feeney | Town Manager, Arlington, MA

Comprised of a new humanities wing, media center, and central spine of public spaces, Phase Two is a significant project milestone as the largest of four construction phases.
Central Spine

The new central spine is both an activity hub and a concourse through the school from the upper entrance at Mass Ave to the fields, parking, and bikeway at the lower entrance. Upon completion of Phase Three, the spine will connect the school’s four wings—STEAM, humanities, performing arts, and athletics—with shared public spaces, including the 600-student cafeteria, student center, life skills cafe, and prominent forum stair.

The spine brings students together in a variety of spaces, from small seating nooks overlooking the atrium to open areas for presentations or performances. Monumental lightwells add natural light and a sculptural quality, emphasizing the spine’s central role in the design.

Humanities Wing

The new humanities wing mirrors the layout of the STEAM wing (opened in Phase 1) with classrooms for English Language Arts, History, Social Studies, and World Languages, as well as two dedicated rooms for Family and Consumer Science. Modern, flexible furniture and teacher planning rooms between classrooms ensure learning spaces are adaptable to different uses and easily supervised.

A four-story lightwell at the heart of the humanities wing infuses the space with daylight and provides a collaborative workspace for students to study, socialize, and engage in hands-on project assignments.

Media Center

Directly above the central spine is the school’s two-story media center, envisioned as a hub for research and study. Here, students can engage in individual or group project work in a range of seating options, utilize technology resources, attend class in a closed-off conference room, or find a private nook for reading.

Lightwells penetrate the media center, creating countertop workspaces similar to those in the humanities and STEAM wings. The lightwells, along with skylights and expansive windows, ensure the media center is a bright, lively, and welcoming space for students and faculty alike.

Scheduled to open in early 2025, Phase Three will include a new athletics wing and black box theater. Follow along on the AHS building project website for frequent construction updates.

Arlington High School: Zoning for Sustainability

Arlington High School: Zoning for Sustainability

As one of the first all-electric high schools in Massachusetts, the new Arlington High School stands as a testament to the significant energy savings that can be achieved through high level coordination and consideration of a building’s environmental impact at all scales.

Educational programming and energy-efficient engineering go hand in hand at the new Arlington High School, where HMFH led an extensive coordination and collaboration process between school officials, engineers and community members to achieve an efficient and comfortable learning environment. As everyday beneficiaries of well-designed spaces, occupants often take for granted the many building systems working together seamlessly to ensure comfort, health and wellbeing. The new all-electric Arlington High School will demonstrate this concept when its first phase opens in February of 2022.

An extensive educational program, complex phased construction schedule, and polluted soils on site that prohibited the use of geothermal wells, required the design team to think critically and creatively to produce a facility in line with Arlington’s ambitious sustainability goals. The solution balances the use of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems–which supply space heating and cooling throughout the school without relying on fossil-fuels–with a carefully zoned educational plan that limits the hours of operation for these units, reducing the 408,000 sf school’s energy use to an impressive pEUI of 24.7.

The team’s proactive approach to sustainable design involved close collaboration with school administration and faculty early in the design process to identify the optimal configuration of educational program and building systems zoning layout. Grouping programs with similar operational schedules allows entire zones of mechanical systems to be turned off when the spaces are not occupied, limiting excess energy use in the school and contributing to saving 33% in energy costs over baseline.

When the facility is complete in 2024, the new high school will be the largest public building in Arlington and represent a shift in the Town toward a more climate conscious, resilient future.

Urban Oasis: Elevating Outdoor Space in a High-Rise School

Urban Oasis:
Elevating Outdoor Space in a High-Rise School

Occupying a limited 0.9-acre lot less than a mile from Boston City Hall, the new Josiah Quincy Upper School (JQUS) design responds to its urban site constraints with a dynamic rooftop designed as an accessible outdoor space for learning, gathering, and activity.

With the positive attributes of an urban site—proximity to public transportation, recreation, and rich local culture—come associated design challenges: tight lot lines, lack of greenery, and air quality concerns that make it nearly impossible to incorporate outdoor program space on site. Understanding the vital connection of open-air green space to student wellness and equitable education, the JQUS project team spun these challenges into opportunities, literally elevating precious open space to the school’s rooftop, 130 feet above ground level.

Filled with greenery, furnished with seating, and enclosed by trellises and perimeter windscreens, the JQUS roof is the crown jewel of this high-rise middle high school. The layout—designed in collaboration with project landscape architect Arcadis | IBI Group—accommodates learning, socializing, and physical activity with an outdoor classroom, gardens, walking paths, and various informal spaces for small group study to large presentations.

Student well-being

JQUS serves an urban and predominantly minority student population for whom access to natural light, fresh air, and connections to nature are critical to their health and wellness. The new rooftop is an urban oasis with open space and gardens, where ample plantings filter pollutants for optimal air quality. To ensure that the entire school is isolated from the ambient ground-level air pollution in this transit-oriented location, fresh air ventilation is captured and distributed from roof level to interior spaces on floors below.

To prioritize mental health through design, a mindfulness garden provides a calm, contemplative space complete with meadow grasses, meandering stone paths, and intermittent benches. Here, urban students have a safe, relaxing, and peaceful place to unwind in a natural setting.

Environmental sustainability

Beyond programmatic benefits, the JQUS green roof significantly improves the building’s environmental sustainability.

The planting system absorbs precipitation to slow stormwater runoff and lowers both the rooftop and surrounding air temperature to mitigate heat island effect and reduce the building’s cooling loads (as well as associated costs). JQUS’s rooftop contains a blend of native plant species, promoting biodiversity in its urban environment.

Educational opportunity

Located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, JQUS students have little access to outdoor learning environments. The new school’s rooftop provides outdoor learning spaces for subjects from science and art to environmental education. The designated outdoor classroom offers an ideal setting for hands-on learning and messy project work that cannot otherwise be accommodated indoors.

The JQUS green roof is not only an educational environment but a learning tool in itself. Teachers can integrate various components of the green roof into their curriculum using first-hand examples of complex sustainable systems and native plant species at their fingertips.

As educational facilities trend toward building up, not out, and communities seek strategies to mitigate climate change challenges, accessible green roofs could become standard in contemporary public school design. Pioneering this effort in the Boston Public School System, JQUS serves as a model for the many sustainability and programmatic benefits of green roofs.

Three HMFH School Buildings Earn LEED Gold Certification

Three HMFH School Buildings Earn LEED Gold Certification

Three HMFH school buildings achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the successful implementation of numerous sustainable design strategies! All three received a perfect score in the LEED Innovation category, meaning the designs exhibited exceptional performance beyond the requirements set by LEED.

Chapman Middle School
Weymouth, MA

The new Chapman Middle School serves 1,470 students in grades six through eight with state-of-the-art learning and gathering spaces. As the largest middle school in Massachusetts, student well-being was a focal point of the design and drove many of the project’s sustainability goals, from fostering a sense of belonging for all students to encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Key Sustainability Elements
  • A variety of sunscreen strategies respond to each of the building’s solar orientations, reducing glare and improving occupant comfort
  • High-performance building envelope, ventilation, and air distribution systems maintain a comfortable and healthy interior environment
  • An accessible ½ mile walking loop connects two playgrounds and three fitness stations, promoting an active lifestyle and community use
  • Reuse and renovation of the gymnasium save on embodied carbon
Center for Science and the Environment
Bristol Aggie | Dighton, MA

With Bristol Aggie’s unique curriculum rooted in science, environmental, and agriculture-based education, the new Center for Science and the Environment (CSE) is a living-learning lab that promotes hands-on research and experiential learning. Close ties between the school and the landscape led to sustainability goals focused on water conservation, which now reduce indoor water use in the CSE by 68%.

Key Sustainability Elements
  • The CSE is the first school building in MA to utilize composting toilets
  • Two vegetative green roofs reduce stormwater runoff and offset heat island effect
  • Roof water is captured and reused for irrigation
  • Environmental graphics explain these sustainable systems for educational purposes
Gilbert Hall
Bristol Aggie | Dighton, MA

The renovation and addition to Bristol Aggie’s primary academic building, Gilbert Hall, showcases the environmental benefits of reusing existing buildings. The 1935 structure was redesigned to accommodate modern learning environments, maintain the building’s original character, and save on embodied carbon compared to new construction.

Key Sustainability Elements
  • By reusing 69% of the original building’s structure and envelope, the design saves 744 metric tons of carbon
  • The team conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to understand the environmental impact associated with raw materials, manufacturing, and transportation of concrete, metals, and masonry to inform design decisions

New Josiah Quincy Upper School Tops Off!

New Josiah Quincy Upper School Tops Off!

City officials, students, faculty, community, and project team members all gathered at the site of the new Josiah Quincy Upper School in Chinatown to mark the completion of this monumental steel structure and celebrate what the new school will mean for the future of education in Boston.

“As we raise the final beam today, we look back in gratitude to everyone who has worked for the last 10 years to bring this project to life, and we look forward to the promise of inspiring young minds in the years to come.”

Kerrie Griffin | Director of Public Facilities, City of Boston

Designed to promote equity, wellness and academic growth, the new middle high school represents the City’s unwavering commitment to education and to sustainable, low energy, carbon-free buildings. Sitting on the edge of the Mass Pike, the impressive high-rise school includes state-of-the-art dining, theater, athletic, and media facilities, STEM classrooms and academic project areas to support different learning styles, all stacked under a multipurpose rooftop space to create a safe, secure environment for students to flourish. Students are only one of many beneficiaries: the school will be an accessible, community-wide resource upon its completion in the fall of 2024.

“This will be one of the greenest buildings in Boston, and we are so proud that it will be a showcase of the future that we build with every steel beam.”

Michelle Wu | Mayor, City of Boston

Renovate or Build New: A Life Cycle Comparison of Two Academic Buildings

Renovate or Build New:
A Life Cycle Comparison of Two Academic Buildings

What does a direct comparison between renovation and new construction reveal about a building’s environmental impact and how can this data inform future design decisions?

HMFH sustainability leaders Suni Dillard and Alexandra Christiana addressed these questions with Carrie Havey of The Green Engineer at USGBC Live’s Boston Forum, using a case study of two buildings at Bristol County Agricultural High School to compare the environmental impact of the products associated with renovation vs. new construction.

In recent years, there has been a push in the design industry to reuse existing buildings as a strategy to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that arise from the manufacturing, transporting, installing, maintaining, and disposing of building materials ₁. The idea seems simple: reuse buildings and reduce carbon emissions. However, the answer isn’t always so straightforward. How a building is reused or built new significantly affects its carbon footprint, so it is important to understand the impact of all design decisions in order to create environmentally responsible buildings.

While renewing and expanding the Bristol County Agricultural High School campus, HMFH had the unique opportunity to design two buildings with comparable program and scale. Using Tally, a Revit plugin that quantifies the environmental impact of building materials ₂, we conducted a life cycle assessment analyzing the products specified in both the renovation of Gilbert Hall, a 72,000 SF academic building from 1935, and the new Center for Science and the Environment (CSE), a 73,500 SF academic building, to weigh the benefits of renovations vs. new construction.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is an analysis of a project’s impact throughout its lifespan, from the gathering and transportation of raw materials, to reuse after a building’s end of life. A completed LCA evaluates factors including global warming potential, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation, ozone depletion, and depletion of nonrenewable energy sources. In North America, there is currently not enough data to include site or mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems in a LCA despite their significant impact on a building’s sustainability. Therefore, our analysis of Gilbert Hall and the CSE focuses on the environmental impact of building materials.

By comparing data from the LCA cradle to gate stages for Gilbert Hall and the CSE, we were able to review the impacts of raw material extraction, manufacturing, and transportation for each project and learn which building elements and product categories are most beneficial in the design of a renovation vs. new construction project. This comparison looks specifically at global warming potential—a relative measure of greenhouse gas contribution over a 60 year-time horizon. For example, the LCA shows the renovation of Gilbert Hall has a 28% reduction in overall global warming potential (calculated in kg C02e) in the cradle to gate stage compared to the newly built CSE.

Building Elements

CSE: 353.3 kg CO2eq/m²
GH: 259.41 kg CO2eq/m²

The newly constructed CSE features a highly efficient exterior wall design, while Gilbert Hall excels in its minimal impact by reusing the existing structural elements.

Metals

CSE: 173.31 kgCO2eq/m²
GH: 230.64 kgCO2eq/m²

The lack of concrete used in GH’s renovation resulted in the majority of its material impact being attributed to metals within the enclosure.

While renovation is often the most sustainable option, a comprehensive understanding of each design element’s impact at all phases of a project promotes the most environmentally responsible choices. Life cycle assessments provide concrete data that can guide clients through a sustainable building process by weighing the impact and effectiveness of each decision over the course of the project. Where do we go from here?

Suggested Workflow
  • Pre-Design: Set benchmarks and targets, and demand low carbon materials/transparency
  • Schematic Design: Analyze, track and compare embodied carbon against benchmarks and achievable low carbon goals
  • Design Development: Prioritize healthy materials, create low carbon specifications, and conduct a carbon estimate
  • Construction Documents: Continue to  refine low carbon specifications, and require the general contractor to prepare a carbon estimate for construction
Suggested Carbon Reduction Strategies
  • Reduce the use of concrete, or substitute fly ash and/or slag for cement in the concrete mix*
  • Substitute precast hollow concrete floors for composite metal deck floors
  • Substitute cross-laminated timber for metal deck floors
  • Utilize glulam columns and beams in lieu of steel columns and beams

*Use of this as a replacement needs more study due to concern over material health issues

 

  1. Carbon Leadership Forum https://carbonleadershipforum.org/embodied-carbon-101/
  2. Autodesk https://apps.autodesk.com/RVT/en/Detail/Index?id=3841858388457011756&utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com.br

HMFH Implements Healthy Material Initiative at Bristol-Plymouth

HMFH Implements
Healthy Material Initiative at Bristol-Plymouth

In collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), HMFH is developing a new standard for healthy materials in K-12 public schools. Currently in design, the new Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School will serve as the pilot project for this program.

A healthy interior environment is foundational to a child’s education—by the time a student graduates high school, they will have spent more than 15,000 hours in a school, which is the second longest indoor exposure time after their home.¹ Therefore, it is essential that educational facilities provide the healthiest possible environments to support student wellness, growth, and development. A key piece of this is understanding the impact of building materials on health and well-being.

Research by Harvard University shows that chemicals often found in building materials have been linked to health conditions including cancer, immune suppression, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and thyroid diseases.² Currently, product manufacturers are not required to disclose the chemical makeup of their products, making it incredibly difficult to make informed design decisions regarding the safety of building materials. In the same way that nutrition labels for food enable us to make healthy choices about our diet, complete material transparency allows designers and owners to understand the implications of different building materials and select accordingly.

Standards for material transparency do exist, and a primary goal of HMFH’s research for Bristol-Plymouth is to identify and specify materials that are proven to be safe by fully disclosing ingredient and manufacturing information through Declare. Declare is a platform for manufacturers to provide essential information on the material makeup of their products and compliance with standards such as the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List and LBC Watch List, which outline materials, chemicals, and elements harmful to human health and the environment.³

A product’s compliance with the LBC Red List is represented on the Declare label by the product’s Declaration Status, of which there are three:

  • LBC RED LIST FREE products disclose 100% of ingredients present at or above 100 ppm (0.01%) in the final product and do not contain any Red List chemicals.
  • LBC RED LIST APPROVED products disclose a minimum of 99% of ingredients present in the final product and may contain one or more Red List chemicals, but only if covered by an established exception.
  • DECLARED products disclose 100% of ingredients present in the final product but contain one or more Red List chemicals that are not covered by an approved exception.⁴

Drawing from over 50 years of experience designing K-12 public schools, HMFH is researching and vetting hundreds of materials to develop a baseline list of products that contribute to a healthy learning environment and are optimized for K-12 architecture. The intent of this research is twofold: first, to provide a list of healthy building materials to serve as a reference point for future projects, and second, to push manufacturers to disclose the chemical makeup of their materials and ultimately eliminate chemicals of concern present in these products.

Focusing on touch surfaces in schools, which encompass materials from furniture to door hardware, the Bristol-Plymouth team began with products commonly used in K-12 architecture to confirm they are not harmful. The research has shown many of these commonly specified products to be healthy, but for those that are not, HMFH’s designers investigated non-toxic equivalent products that meet the same standards for function, durability, and accessibility, which is crucial in public school designs. The materials and manufacturers vetted through this research will be used to develop a comprehensive list of touch surface materials that targets LBC Red List Free products and Declared products where Red List Free is not feasible.

The project’s state-funded budget and public construction laws pose additional challenges to this process. Under these laws, the team is required to provide three equal products for every product specified, which increases the amount of healthy material options that must be provided while budget constraints limit the field of not-toxic products available. Despite these challenges, HMFH’s research will provide a list of healthy products that can easily be implemented in K-12 school designs where the budget allows and can also be used to initiate change among material manufacturers and increase awareness surrounding harmful chemicals in building materials. Some examples of safer substitutes for typical products found in public schools include:

Lockers: High-density plastic lockers can replace painted metal lockers to eliminate their toxic coating

Whiteboards: Glass whiteboards provide a non-toxic alternative to typical painted steel whiteboards, which have a toxic coating

Shades: Fabric window shades are a healthier alternative polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

As the pilot project for healthy material research, Bristol-Plymouth will be a model for healthy schools in Massachusetts. The purpose of this research is to establish initial product standards for MSBA-funded schools, with an ultimate goal of eliminating chemicals of concern from school building materials to ensure that all students across the State have access to healthy interior environments.

Read more about this exciting initiative in a feature from the Boston Globe.

Saugus Middle High School Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Saugus Middle High School Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

Saugus Middle High School is the first project publicly funded through the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to reach the highest level of LEED certification. This significant milestone is a product of a holistic approach to sustainability that considers how each design decision will culminate in a facility that truly serves its environment and occupants.

Water Conservation

Three 30,000-gallon underground cisterns collect water for reuse while rain gardens throughout the school’s parking lots filter stormwater runoff from the site and mitigate heat island effects. Together with the use of low-flow fixtures, these measures reduce the building’s annual water consumption by 45 percent.

Air Quality and Ventilation

Located less than 300 feet from a busy six-lane highway, the new facility responds to the challenge of providing optimal air quality with rooftop mechanical air handling units positioned with their intakes facing away from the highway and prevailing winds. This enables displacement ventilation systems to distribute clean air throughout the interior, bringing 20 percent more fresh air into the spaces at low velocity without the typical costs and acoustical distractions associated with conventional mechanical systems.

Equity

The new school represents a transformation of Saugus Public Schools to reflect the town’s vision for innovative, equitable facilities. Creating a welcoming, accessible and inclusive environment for all was critical to the success of the design. All-gender toilet facilities are conveniently located and used by faculty and students alike. Special education spaces feature tunable LED fixtures, giving teachers flexibility to adjust light intensity and color temperature to help modulate behavior and respond to light sensitivity. A special classroom on the third floor provides a designated space for medically fragile community members with exceptional views and access to a rooftop classroom.

Energy Efficiency

Saugus Middle High School uses a combined heating and power system known as tri-generation. Generating electricity on-site significantly reduces operational carbon emissions and eliminates emissions associated with regional source generation, while utilizing waste heat for space heating, domestic hot water heating and space cooling. Continuously running generators improve resiliency by ensuring emergency systems will be operational when they are needed most.

Bristol Aggie Natural History Museum: Progressing Through Local Ecology

Bristol Aggie Natural History Museum: Progressing Through Local Ecology

Housed in the new Center for Science and the Environment, Bristol Aggie’s Natural History Museum showcases student-curated exhibits and an extensive collection of native New England flora and fauna.

Designed with highly visible building systems and exposed structural elements, Bristol Aggie’s new Center for Science and the Environment functions as a teaching tool and fosters hands-on, experiential learning. Within the CSE is a state-of-the-art museum space, which fully embraces Bristol Aggie’s hands-on learning approach by allowing students to curate the exhibits on display.

For the past 25 years, Bristol Aggie’s Natural History Museum has been an important piece of the campus and curriculum. However, previously siloed in an 18th century barn, the museum was cut off from the heart of campus and separate from the greenhouse where Natural Resource Management students worked intensively with the collections. This left NRM students without essential resources needed to perform their lab work. It was important that the design of the new museum not only address these concerns but create an exciting environment on par with the caliber of the collections it showcases.

The design of the new museum addresses aspects such as ease of use, visibility on campus, and user experience. Located on the first floor of the CSE’s southern wing, the museum occupies a corridor; the linear architecture of the space guides students through the collection in a natural progression, making the museum easily accessible and understandable. Treating the space as a hallway gallery also encourages students who are not involved in the NRM program to regularly engage with the exhibits as they travel through the CSE. A neutral color palette and warm wood tones reflect the identity of a school rooted in nature and agriculture and allow the exhibits to be the focal point of the space.

“Having our new museum right here, with all of our facilities in one location will allow for easier logistics, for maintaining all of this, and for having the museum available to all of the students every day, because this is also a hallway… Whatever our students do in a particular day is visible to the entire school community.”

Brian Bastarache | NRM Program Director, Bristol Aggie

Adjacent to the exhibits are adaptable labs for students to engage in project work and curate exhibits. The proximity and flexibility of the lab spaces are a much-needed upgrade from the singular isolated lab students were previously working in. The design of the museum puts academics on display, using glass walls to create uninterrupted views into the lab spaces and showcase the exciting, hands-on project work happening inside.