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Virginia Commonwealth University

Sanger Hall

VCU Sanger Hall Phase A: Sanger Hall, an academic research facility on Virginia Commonwealth University’s MCV Campus was built in the 1960s. BCWH took a collaborative approach in the renovation of the 4th floor of Sanger Hall by partnering with expert Lab Architect, Lord Aeck Sargent. Modernizing laboratories in a building built over 50 years ago layered with the complexity of dozens of past renovations and mechanical interventions presented its challenges to the team. BCWH and Lord Aeck Sargent programmed and designed open, efficient labs, proper support spaces, modern offices areas and formal and informal meeting spaces. Rhythm of color and contrast along with rigid lines and the interjection of organic pattern enliven the public circulation throughout the department. In an effort to provide branding for their department, the Pathology Department provided microscopic images that were manipulated into large graphic wall coverings. Feature walls, signage, accent lighting and shared department amenity spaces were located at the ends of corridors and at the elevators creating aids in orientation within a building of near identical floors. The open labs create not only a safer space for researchers to work but also provide a space where intellectual collisions can occur between individuals and research teams. The labs are lined with views to the exterior allowing natural light to flood the space. The regimented lab bench layout, continuous runs of linear lighting and floor pattern are interrupted by large vertical volumes of writable wall surfaces that house some of the labs utilities. The use of bold color in the lab is limited but is located where it makes the most impact. It is located where it can be visually linked to the building’s main path of circulation where it can aid in way finding.