Smith College Ford Hall Engineering and Molecular Sciences Building

Designed with the intent to be learning laboratory, the 140,000 SF Ford Hall houses Smith’s Engineering Program, as well as the departments of computer science, chemistry, and molecular biology. It also centrally locates facilities for computation, simulation & modeling, surface analysis, and molecular analysis.  An onsite power conversion system was designed to provide a significant portion of the building’s heat and electricity, combining four innovative technologies: fuel cells, biodiesel-fueled microturbines, photovoltaic solar panels, and thermal solar panels. A concept of a “river of light” carries surface-mounted lighting throughout the circulation areas and works with the technology-on-display concept for this highly sustainable building. The integrated daylighting and architectural lighting design enlivens the Great Hall, circulation, classroom, and laboratory spaces. The building design incorporates green roofs, porous pavement, vegetated swales, and environmentally responsible mechanical systems. It further showcases these high-performance energy and environmental features as part of its academic program. Student teams comprised of Smith College Engineering Majors assisted van Zelm throughout the design phase of the project. Carefully designed to minimize its impact on the environment, this project received Gold Certification from the LEED Green Building Rating System.

Client: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects
Location: Northampton, MA