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This small but beautiful structure stands out for its detailing and use of sustainable materials, serving to inspire those who use it for architectural research. This facility is used for interdisciplinary educational collaboration on fabrication, robotics and sensors—studies where computers meet the physical world to become “embodied computation.” With glazed doors that fully open at one end, the large double-height warehouse-like building allows for flexible reconfiguration of classroom, workshop, testing and research space. Since low carbon emissions is a key focus for the work that goes on within, wood was a natural choice. Inside, a five-ton gantry crane rides along rails sitting atop the glulam post and beam structure. Scaffolding boards salvaged from New York City construction sites were sand-blasted and then used as exterior cladding, giving the building a uniquely beautiful, weathered façade. The custom-made CNC sand-blasting equipment was designed to use algorithms that detect wood knots. Princeton researchers are working to determine if geometries of the grain change in the blasted wood will impact thermal performance of the material.
Buro Happold Engineering