When Chapman University embarked on the construction of the Keck Center for Science and Engineering, the university had one goal in mind, to gather scholars in a collaborative space to solve a broad range of global problems through research. A year later, the Keck Center for Science and Engineering has been designated as a “high research activity” university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Growing from receiving $219,000 in federal grants for research to a staggering $4.1 million in the fiscal year 2017-18; total spending in the last fiscal year for research eclipsed $14 million.
At the core of the Keck Center’s mission to advance research is the forward-looking approach to science education through interdisciplinary collaboration, an approach which encourages scholars to interact with disciplines outside of their own to develop ideas and share knowledge. Opportunities for interdisciplinary work are a focal point of the building’s design which features spaces beyond traditional classrooms and laboratories to converge science and engineering students in interactive environments to foster collaboration.
Designed by AC Martin Architects, with collaboration engrained throughout, the 140,000 square-foot facility features high-tech equipment and design elements to support students with learning, collaboration, and ideation spaces that foster interdisciplinary collaboration. The design includes 18 teaching labs, 22 research labs, 47 offices, three multi-purpose classrooms, and six collaboration areas.
To support productive collaboration, BASWA Phon Sound Absorbing Plaster was seamlessly integrated into ceilings throughout collaborative spaces. By absorbing excessive reverberation in a space, BASWA Phon improves on speech intelligibility, positively impacting collaboration and student learning.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say this building is going to be really transformative for the sciences. Math is basically the language by which most science operates. Those types of interactions really can’t be underestimated in terms of their ability to foster new collaborations, new ideas, and interdisciplinary,” says Chris Kim, Associate Dean for Academic Programs at Chapman University.