Scott Laboratory

by Vincent Kampel

The Peter L. and Clara M. Scott Laboratory is home to The Ohio State University’s departments of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering. Located on North Campus, its site is defined by 19th Avenue to its north, 18th Avenue to its south, Macgruder Avenue to its east, and the Journalism building to its west. Scott Lab is comprised of three wings, North, East, and West, with a central grass courtyard and also includes a multi-ramped skyway connecting the East and West wings. The facility stands five stories high with a basement and contains classrooms, administrative offices, and a wide array of laboratories and machine shops.

Professional Scott Laboratory, School of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University


Completed in 2006, Scott Lab was designed by BHDP Architecture and constructed by Ruscilli Construction. Both contributors were specifically selected by the university and also have multiple standing projects on Ohio State’s campus. Replacing the existing Robinson Laboratories, Scott Lab’s 240,000 square foot construction project required intensive detailed planning and execution to meet the challenges present. Multiple accommodations were needed to reroute pedestrian and vehicular traffic and relocate classes during Robinson’s multi-phase demolition process to ensure that the transition from old to new was made as seamlessly as possible. Regular review sessions were held during its design and construction process to ensure that once completed, its ample space could be used and implemented as effectively as possible. Ultimately, Scott Lab stands as both a distinctive work of architecture on North Campus and (anecdotally) very popular among its many frequent visitors.

The original vision for Scott Lab, formed collaboratively between BHDP, university planners, and future occupants of the building, dictated much of the existing architecture of the building to this day. From the beginning, Scott Lab was intended to cater to the needs of the students and faculty who would use it most, while simultaneously accommodating the current needs of the departments and including enough flexibility within its structures to ensure the facility could adapt to new capabilities during its lifetime to ensure its longevity and sustainability. Its chosen materials both externally (brick, aluminum, and glass) and internally (concrete, metals, and glass) represent sustainable materials that have both long lifetimes and little required maintenance. Also notably sustainable is its strong presence of natural light. The utility of the glass exterior along with its many windows allow for much of the building to be lit naturally; even the underground basement is provided with light by angled ground level windows.scott_back

Architecturally, Scott Lab’s many elements are primarily utilitarian (fitting for its engineering-minded inhabitants), but also maintain its design integrity. Most notable among its features are its multitude of exterior materials. Along the outer exterior of the building, it features the same brick aesthetic found widely on North Campus. The inner exterior (as seen from the courtyard), however, features a seamed aluminum siding with a notable glass presence, especially contained in the skyway. This use of materials is much more consistent with the building’s interior space, which adheres to an industrial and mechanical aesthetic. Also, the U-shape of the building allows a nice courtyard space for visitors to use and enables an efficient flow of pedestrian traffic.





“OSU Scott Laboratory”.<>

“Scott Laboratory”. <>

Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center

by Vincent Kampel

Battelle Darby Nature Center is a visitors’ center found in the heart of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. The park, located in western Franklin county along 13 miles of the Big Darby and Little Darby Creeks, is comprised of over 7,000 acres of wetland, prairie, and forest ecosystems, making it the largest of the Metro Parks. The building is located within native Ohio prairie lands and overlooks the park’s enclosure of roaming bison, which have been reintroduced to the area, to the south. The Nature Center’s purpose is to serve the park’s visitors with an educational and interactive resource to learn about and experience the park’s ecosystems first hand, aiming to engage the visitors with the vast collection of natural settings within the park.

The project, undertaken by DesignGroup, was completed in 2012 and features Ohio State’s own professor William Keoni Fleming as principal architect and sustainability manager with Michael Bongiorno as designer. The two-story building exhibits 14,000 square feet of educational and interpretive attractions for its visitors, including a 53 foot long “living stream” at its center which models the park’s river and creek ecosystems.

The primary focus of the building was its sustainability efforts. The design team’s challenge was to find the most effective way to place a building in the midst of a delicate natural location. As a result, the design team strived to create a design for the building that reduced its own impact physically, environmentally, and visually. One strong indication of these efforts is the building’s exterior appearance.

The nature center is built into a hill and recedes into the landscape, so when approached from the north, only the roof of its porch and the main lobby are visible. The intention of this approached perspective was to emphasize the visitors’ focus on the natural surrounding landscape rather than the building itself; the porch itself uses this perspective to frame the bison enclosure and natural horizon beyond the building. While only one story is visible from the north when fully approached, the full expanse of the two-story building can be seen from the south.


However, the building goes far beyond justblending into the landscape to reduce its environmental impact. One major feature of the building is its roof garden, or green roof, comprised entirely of native vegetation; as testament to the building’s efforts, local birds have been found to nest atop the roof. The roof, along with the parking lot, also enables rainwater runoff to a series of contained wetlands which have been planted with more native vegetation. The green roof exhibits an effective way to reduce the building’s impact both environmentally and visually.


Further, the building features multiple technical and design measures to ensure its sustainability. The building’s layout and orientation enables it to benefit from passive solar energy gain, which means it naturally receives more direct sunlight in the winter to warm the building and more shading in the summer to help keep it cool. Geothermal ground-source heat pumps add to the building’s resume of sustainability. Operable windows for ventilation and a

highly-insulated building envelope also contribute to the sustainable climate control of the building, which all in all is estimated to use only half of the energy of a conventional building of its utility and size. As a culmination of its efforts, the Nature Center is pursuing a LEED silver certification.





Sources: “Batelle Darby Metro Park Nature Center/Design Group”. <>