Lehigh recently released its design for the university’s health, science and technology building, which is part of the Path to Prominence initiative.
University Architect Brent Stringfellow explained how Lehigh collaborated with Wilson HGA, a Boston architect firm, to complete the four-step design process for the building.
After conducting a broad assessment of the facility, Stringfellow and the other architects analyzed the project from a feasibility standpoint. The team then focused on finding the correct site for the building, eventually settling on the lot behind Whitaker Laboratory at the corner of Morton and Webster streets.
“The Whitaker lot didn’t require us to get rid of any buildings on campus,” Stringfellow said. “It’s an open site that provides for the opportunity to connect with the Lehigh community.”
To create that connection, Stringfellow and his team created an exterior design that matched the aesthetic of Lehigh’s campus and added modern flairs, such as floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
While the new facility is designed to fit snugly on Lehigh’s campus, students are feeling mixed emotions toward the building.
Grace Miller, ’21, identified the building’s location as less than ideal for student and faculty parking, as the construction would eliminate the parking lot behind Whitaker Laboratory and Sinclair Auditorium.
“It’s going to make the parking situation even worse than it already is,” Miller said. “It will just congest things more and make people unhappy.”
Miller further elaborated on the situation, lamenting how students and faculty are already being relegated to Mountaintop parking for the next academic year.
The building will apparently do more than eliminate parking, said Michelle Rodriguez, ’21, who notes that the campus is already suffering from extensive change.
“There’s a lot of construction right now, and it’s hard to keep up with,” Rodriguez said. “It’s making the skyline look a little sadder, because there are beautiful buildings here and it would be nice to look at them without all of the construction.”
Earlier this semester, Lehigh announced major advances in the development of the College of Health, including hiring Whitney Witt as the inaugural dean and solidifying some of the curriculum.
Despite the structural eye-sores on campus, Rodriguez explained that the building’s proximity to other contemporary facilities, like the Rauch Business Center, will allow it to “fit in perfectly.”
“I’m all for advancing research and knowledge, especially in the medical field,” Rodriguez said. “Starting a new thing is always hard, but in the long run, I think it will be great for Lehigh.”
The building, which will house research facilities and the College of Health, will provide students with the resources for future growth in the scientific and medical fields.
Michelina Beaumont, ’22, who is enrolled in Lehigh’s pre-med track, is looking forward to the atmospheric changes that the building will bring to the university.
“I think the building will change the atmosphere of the campus,” Beaumont said. “Lehigh is known for being engineering, but it’s going to be nice to have some health aspects dominating the campus.”
The $145 million building will unite Whitaker and Sinclair, adding 195,000 square feet to the area, Stringfellow said.
He said the building will efficiently establish the science department’s place on campus.
“The building will anchor the science quad to the rest of campus and provide a front door to the community, and that’s the message we’re trying to send,” he said.
The building is set to open in fall 2020.