Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Engineering Revealed

MacLean Engineering Sciences Center places creativity on display.

By Karen Endicott
Photographs by John Sherman

Two and a half years after its groundbreaking, MacLean Engineering Sciences Center was formally unveiled September 29, 2006 to a jubilant Thayer School community. A dedication ceremony held in the new atrium that links MacLean to Cummings Hall signaled the beginning of a new era for engineering education.

MacLean Engineering Sciences Center is far more than a 64,000-square-foot addition. It is the embodiment of Thayer School’s integrative approach to engineering. Designed according to the principle that creativity thrives in synergetic surroundings, MacLean’s open, flexible spaces provide new venues and means for applying Thayer School’s emphasis on hands-on learning, innovative research, and teamwork.

MacLean Engineering Sciences Center
MacLean Engineering Sciences Center

MacLean Engineering Sciences Center “MacLean’s distinctive design — mixing traditional with contemporary features — mirrors our approach to engineering education, in which we blend time-tested principles of engineering with innovation and emerging technologies,” Dean Joseph Helble stated at the dedication.

According to Professor William Lotko, chair of the building committee that oversaw Thayer School’s expansion, MacLean conveys the process of technology. “To a Dartmouth engineer, technology is the outcome of an intensive process of research, need assessment, brainstorming, conception, feasibility evaluation, modeling, resource procurement, design, experimentation, analysis, prototype development, iteration, iteration, iteration, and then voilá — technology,” he explained at the dedication. “When the faculty started expressing the idea to architects Fred Koetter and Susie Kim that there was something visual and inherently interesting about the messy engineering process, they got it immediately. They accepted the challenge to develop a MacLean Center that would give form and substance to the fuzzy idea of ‘revealing engineering.’ You can see a vivid expression of this idea in the entire wall of the building, inside and out, but especially in the atrium, where it appears that MacLean indeed has been sheared open to reveal the inner workings of engineering.”

GlycoFi Atrium
GlycoFi Atrium

The result is a building that welcomes people into engineering. For students and faculty, easy observation of works in progress invites new ideas and associations. For visitors to Thayer — from prospective students to non-engineers — MacLean is a window into the ingenuity and creativity of engineering.

Increasing Thayer School’s facilities by more than 60 percent, the Engineering Sciences Center, named for lead donors Barry ’60 Th’61 and Mary Ann MacLean, provides space for strategic growth in an environment that fosters community and close student-faculty interaction.

Combining soaring beauty with exacting functionality, MacLean Engineering Sciences Center will not merely house the work of Thayer School. For decades to come it will inspire and enable students and faculty to reach new heights of innovation in education and research.

WINDOWS ON ENGINEERING: From almost every angle MacLean provides views of the inventiveness behind innovation.
WINDOWS ON ENGINEERING: From almost every angle MacLean provides views of the inventiveness behind innovation.

ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTRY: MacLean configures traditional materials — copper, brick, glass, and granite — in contemporary ways.
ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTRY: MacLean configures traditional materials — copper, brick, glass, and granite — in contemporary ways.

CRITICAL PATHS: An overlook spanning the atrium provides direct access from the Great Hall in Cummings to the first floor of MacLean. Well-planned connections ensure that the two buildings function as one.
CRITICAL PATHS: An overlook spanning the atrium provides direct access from the Great Hall in Cummings to the first floor of MacLean. Well-planned connections ensure that the two buildings function as one.

SHEAR BEAUTY: MacLean was designed to appear as if one side of the building was sheared off to expose the inner workings of engineering. MacLean’s white walls form part of that effect. Store-front windows showcase the student project labs that dominate the ground floor. The three-story atrium linking MacLean and Cummings invites the imagination to soar.
SHEAR BEAUTY: MacLean was designed to appear as if one side of the building was sheared off to expose the inner workings of engineering. MacLean’s white walls form part of that effect. Store-front windows showcase the student project labs that dominate the ground floor. The three-story atrium linking MacLean and Cummings invites the imagination to soar.

SMARTER CLASSROOM: The 70-seat auditorium in MacLean is more than a lecture hall. It is a center for collaborative learning. Its extra-wide tiers and moveable, adjustable chairs allow students to cluster together to work on problems in class. Every student is connected by wireless and Ethernet for maximum communication flexibility. Side-by-side screens and large-screen video capability provide presentation versatility. The lecture bench is equipped with a sink and pressurized air for demonstrations. Professor Christopher Levey, a member of the MacLean planning committee, predicts that the room will inspire further classroom innovation. “It’s a chicken and egg thing,” he says. “It doesn’t happen unless you have the space for it.”
SMARTER CLASSROOM: The 70-seat auditorium in MacLean is more than a lecture hall. It is a center for collaborative learning. Its extra-wide tiers and moveable, adjustable chairs allow students to cluster together to work on problems in class. Every student is connected by wireless and Ethernet for maximum communication flexibility. Side-by-side screens and large-screen video capability provide presentation versatility. The lecture bench is equipped with a sink and pressurized air for demonstrations. Professor Christopher Levey, a member of the MacLean planning committee, predicts that the room will inspire further classroom innovation. “It’s a chicken and egg thing,” he says. “It doesn’t happen unless you have the space for it.”

CURRICULAR CENTERPIECE: MacLean’s ground floor is dedicated to student project labs and the services and staff that support them. A large central project lab can be reconfigured into several smaller spaces for mini-lectures and student presentations. Work benches are on wheels so students can roll their projects into the atrium or to the CAD and fabrication workshops or machine shop in Cummings Hall. The project lab is surrounded by the instrument room, offices for instructional staff, the electronics workshop, and diffractometer, microscopy, high vent, and materials processing labs. A large-frame lab, home to Dartmouth Formula Racing and Formula Hybrid, is a short walk in one direction, while an advanced design studio is down the opposite hallway. A room for student presentations and video-conferences with project sponsors caps off the integrated project lab suite.
CURRICULAR CENTERPIECE: MacLean’s ground floor is dedicated to student project labs and the services and staff that support them. A large central project lab can be reconfigured into several smaller spaces for mini-lectures and student presentations. Work benches are on wheels so students can roll their projects into the atrium or to the CAD and fabrication workshops or machine shop in Cummings Hall. The project lab is surrounded by the instrument room, offices for instructional staff, the electronics workshop, and diffractometer, microscopy, high vent, and materials processing labs. A large-frame lab, home to Dartmouth Formula Racing and Formula Hybrid, is a short walk in one direction, while an advanced design studio is down the opposite hallway. A room for student presentations and video-conferences with project sponsors caps off the integrated project lab suite.

COMMUNITY SPACE: A second-floor patio and a light-filled seminar room are among MacLean’s distinctive spaces for community gatherings and classes.
COMMUNITY SPACE: A second-floor patio and a light-filled seminar room are among MacLean’s distinctive spaces for community gatherings and classes.

For more photos, visit our MacLean Engineering Sciences Center Flickr page.

Categories: Features

Tags: design, facilities

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