Saturday, October 25, 2008
ConocoPhillips Science Building @ UAA
The ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building on the campus of UAA is finally nearing the completion of its exterior facade. Construction for the building broke ground in 2007 and is expected to be open in time for the fall semester of 2009. At 120,000 square feet, the building will house departments focused on chemistry, astronomy, geology, environmental science, physics, and a few other disciplines under one roof. A parking garage to accommodate the building will be built in the rear with spaces for over 400 vehicles. Now for those wondering, the new building will NOT be part of the campus "spine"-- the network of buildings connected via skybridge walkways. Yes, that's right; If you're planning to major in bio-chemistry or physics next fall, be sure to wear a thick coat come winter. The Nothern Light (the school's paper) is also reporting that the parking garage will be far from the new building and will therefore offer shuttle rides to and from the ISB from the garage entrance. Besides the Integrated Science Building, UAA recently held a ceremony for the ground breaking of its new Health Sciences Building which will be built across the street from campus next to Providence Hospital. Interestingly enough, this building will have a skybridge attached to it so that it can be accessible from the main campus without students and staff having to step outside. It'll be pretty cool to see a skybridge hanging over the busy Providence Drive.
Now to make things clear, I personally don't like the idea of skybridges when it comes to crowded urban areas. I'm against the idea that has been floating around for the last few years of connecting the new Dena'ina Center to the Performing Arts Center via City Hall. Don't like it, don't want it. It takes away potential foot traffic from the street while disfiguring the architectural sovereignty of each building with the connection of a non-conforming bridge. Most importantly, in a crowded area such as Downtown, destinations are much closer. The campus of UAA on the other hand is a relatively low density area in which buildings are surrounded by acres of surface parking. With its extremely tight availability of available parking near the building along with the bitter winter temperatures early in the year, it can make for a living hell when doing the walk to and from your car. Now I understand the skybridges wont fix this particular problem, but UAA has got to realize when doing its longterm planning that it has to start doing infill construction. Until then, skybridges will remain a solution for at least part of the low density problem. My $0.02.
Anyways here's a vid from UAA on the new ConocoPhillips building: