Project Detail

The Governor’s Academy | Bill ’67 and Peter ’71 Alfond Coastal Research Center

New Coastal Research Center | Byfield, Massachusetts

The Coastal Research Center deepens a commitment to experiential learning and awareness, specifically in the marsh ecosystem by encouraging students to “get their hands dirty” with real-world data and projects. Its siting, perched on an existing granite saddle, minimized tree removal, and compromised none of the shoreline, marshes, and wetlands. Sustainable wood clads exterior walls, so the building effectively disappears into the forest. Steel frames with ample glazing offer textbook views of nature, each ready for study. Emphasized by floorplans which direct attention outwards, they will act as living calendars. Flexible classrooms foster equity between disciplines, from traditional hard science to emerging studies of climate justice and ethics. Makerspaces and aquatic labs are designed as active learning environments, with concrete floors and exposed systems. A gently sloping, elevated walkway meanders through the woods to the shore, effectively transforming marsh and riverbanks into ADA-accessible and additional classrooms. At the river, students engage in processes of discovery by gathering specimens and returning to the lab. The Center benefits local and national research alike with a small residence for visiting scientists. Between the classrooms, an outdoor venue with stepped seating provides perches for lectures, performances, and community outreach and engagement.  

Time Span 2017-2022
Type New Coastal Research Center
Client The Governor’s Academy
Size 9,350 square feet
Cost $7 Million
Design Team David Croteau, Principle-in-Charge; Daithi Blair, Project Architect; Will Merrill, Architectural Designer
Consultants Buro Happold (Structural and MEP); Meridian (Civil and Landscape Design); Aquatic Environments Inc. (Aquatics); PM&C (Cost Estimating)
Photographer Robert Benson

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