Sustainable Transformation of Aging Laboratories in Historic Campus Buildings

Punit Jain, CannonDesign

Higher education facilities around the U.S. are facing challenges with aging labs inside existing buildings—some with historical value and importance to the campus fabric. With the ever-growing emphasis on innovation in STEM curriculums, the ability to transform outdated spaces into 21st century learning environments is paramount to the sustainability and advancement of universities.
This presentation will highlight efforts at Yale University, Radford University and SUNY Oswego, to reimagine, repurpose and reemphasize the importance of science education through renovation of existing science buildings throughout their campuses.

Yale University, Sterling Chemistry Lab Renovation:
In a bold approach to sustainability and preservation, the design carves out the building interior, inserts state-of-the-art chemistry and biology labs and marries the new STEM environment with the existing building shell. Science is at the forefront of the design and is on display throughout, showing the student body and prospective students Yale's commitment to STEM education.

Radford University, Reed and Curie Hall:
A complete interior renovation of the existing Reed and Curie Halls, along with a 3,300 sf addition to enhance the existing inadequate link between the two buildings. The $33M, 70,000 sf renovation of the existing 1930s and 1970s science buildings on campus, will house the departments of physics, biology, chemistry, geology, geospatial, and cyber security, providing academic space for student learning, research and engagement, classrooms, offices, labs, collaborative space, and a full systems replacement.

SUNY Oswego, Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation:
The center is designed to meet this goal, and exceed this commitment while creating a new identity for science learning at the university. Formed by the renovation and expansion of an existing science building and the demolition of another, the center gives the university's science programs new life with interdisciplinary learning and sustainable features that echo the learning taking place inside.

Learning Objectives

  • Upon viewing the presentation, attendees will learn best practices of how to work with universities on major sustainable STEM renovation projects
  • Upon viewing the presentation, attendees will learn how to best design laboratory environments within renovated spaces.
  • Upon viewing the presentation, attendees will learn sustainable strategies used throughout the renovation process.
  • Upon viewing the presentation, attendees will learn how to tie new building additions with renovated pieces.


A LEED Fellow and leader in the science, technology and sustainability practices at CannonDesign, Punit Jain brings extensive experience in the integration of systems, spaces and experiences for a wide range of clients. Having designed over 25 LEED projects, he is responsible for generating innovative solutions in regenerative and net zero design for complex scientific facilities at a campus and building scale. Punit serves on the national board of I2SL and the advisory board of SEFA.


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