Graduate Aerospace Labs (GALCIT), Caltech
The challenge posed by the renovation of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories was to create a cohesive, forward-looking image for a world-class science and engineering research department looking to rebrand itself within the larger context of Caltech. The project transformed a historically-protected building designed by Bertram Goodhue in the early 20th century.
The solution involved using the very same concepts that underlie flight itself, specifically the idea of aerodynamic flow, and the way that geometry, form, and material properties create differential pressures that are the source of lift. Applied to space, architectural form, and two-dimensional wall coverings, the result is a series of elements – many hanging at ceiling level – that create dynamic environments as well as refer to the work that is happening in the laboratories and classrooms. For instance, the pattern of felt in the conference room ceiling is taken from a seminal flow diagram developed at Caltech, while the form of the lobby ceiling was inspired by the premise of how air rushing through it would be altered by its columns and walls, such as in a wind tunnel.
- California Institute of Technology
- Del Amo Construction