THE BABBIO CENTER
Client: Stevens Institute of Technology
Architect of Record: Ecoplan
My Role: Architecture Design & Production
Contractor: Terminal Construction
Photographer: Jeffrey Totaro
Project Area: 95,000SF
The Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr. Center for Technology Management is one of the world’s preeminent institutions in the education of professionals who lead and manage technological innovation in businesses in America and around the world. Educating managers who use technology to create extraordinary value for the societies in which they live, it offers education programs designed and delivered by leading industry practitioners who are important contributors to the creation of new knowledge in the field.
Opened in the Spring of 2006, the Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr. Center for Technology Management, a six-story, 95,000 square foot structure serves as the new signature headquarters for the Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management at Stevens Institute of Technology. On the lower four levels, a vibrant mix of classrooms, laboratories and research library are united by an atrium lobby.
Externally, the lecture hall volume is used expressively to evoke the energy of the activity within. Above, students, faculty and visiting business representatives work together in an office environment that is the antithesis of the “traditional” faculty office suite. A glass-enclosed conference and open teaming area seems to hover within the top of the atrium lobby enclosure and offers a suitable environment to foster the kind of corporate partnerships that form the basis of the program.
The Center is blessed with amazing contextual opportunities. On one side is a rich and vibrant urban landscape of 6-8 story buildings of a variety of materials and historical styles. On another it faces campus buildings, gates and pathways leading to more campus-like areas of the Institute. Finally, sitting atop the cliffs to the Hudson, the site offers panoramic views of the river and the Manhattan skyline. The entrepreneurial drive and spirit of the Howe School of Technology Management was a catalyst for developing a vocabulary that highlights the contrast between a contextually-responsive primary form and vigorously sculptural and modern forms. The primary form of the building takes cues from its neighbors for materials, setbacks and various alignments of both mass and detail.
A round, tapering, metal-clad form housing lecture rooms, intersects the primary volume aggressively and helping to form a high arcade that very loosely recalls the crenellations of the adjacent gothic gateway to the original campus area. Finally, a very simple glass-clad atrium form, engages the primary form at it’s center to unite a variety of interior areas and to afford to many within the building the incredible view of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline. The atrium’s angled alignment acknowledges the configuration of adjacent pedestrian walkways, using this prominent site to unite the urban and more traditional landscapes of the Steven’s campus.