Optics and Sensors Laboratory for NASA's Langley Research Center
Hampton, VA / Professor M. Simons / Spring 2009
A basic element in the optics and sensors research is lenses. The different types of lenses manipulate light in a particular manner based on their shape and density. This idea generated the shape concept of the building and plays a major role in the skin of the main facade. The program had to be divided into two buildings to create an ideal proportion and solar orientation. A module of laboratories and offices was design and distributed through both buildings. These laboratories were connected by bridges minimizing the square footage dedicated to circulation, leaving an open courtyard and at the same time enhancing the daily experience of the scientists The south facade is covered with a system of parabolic lenses that direct the light into a single point that collects energy and creates a more efficient solar energy collector. The system also acts as a shading device protecting the interior spaces from intense heat during the summer and allowing light into the building throughout the winter.
The concept of the building is dispersion, the underwater effect of the light as it passes through the liquid. The building transforms the visitor into an active participant of the reciprocal underwater environment. An experience that reproduces the characteristic disorientation of the ocean’s BLUE.