Webster University’s new Browning Hall, Interdisciplinary Science Building, has transformed the university’s focus on science by tripling the number of science labs on campus. The 84,000-sf facility houses the departments of anthropology and sociology, biological sciences, international language and cultures, nurse anesthesia, nursing, and psychology, and the Institute for Human Rights & Humanitarian Studies.
The four-story building is rich in opportunities for experiential learning, with 27 laboratories, including biology, chemistry, and physics teaching and student/faculty research labs; a human anatomy laboratory; kitchen laboratory; and computational laboratory that can also serve as a general purpose classroom. It also contains a qualitative and quantitative lab to be used by psychology and anthropology/sociology departments. Nursing and nurse anesthesia spaces contain medical simulation labs, including a simulated operating room with a patient simulator mannequin.
The building houses 71 offices for full-time and adjunct faculty, staff, and the dean’s suite; numerous commons areas for students and faculty to collaborate; and a 129-seat auditorium that opens onto a sunken outdoor green area between Browning Hall and an adjacent building.
The dense floor plan has two wings—one housing sciences and the other humanities—revolving around a vertical circulation, which connects common spaces on all levels. The building envelope consists of vision glass and fritted glass, which, together with vertical fins, protect classrooms, laboratories, and office space from excessive sunlight. At night, the building casts a soft light on its surroundings and reveals the interior activities to passersby.
The building is designed to meet LEED Silver.