Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Making It Modern

Academics

The Science Center

Images from the Science Center. Unidentified Photographer, Wheaton College News Bureau. Photograph. 20.5 x 25.2 cm. August 1968.Images from the Science Center. Unidentified Photographer, Wheaton College News Bureau. Photograph. 20.5 x 25.2 cm. August 1968.Images from the Science Center. Unidentified Photographer, Wheaton College News Bureau. Photograph. 20.5 x 25.2 cm. August 1968.

During the 1960s, the decision was made to construct a new building for the Math and Science departments, which were then housed in the outdated Science Hall (now Knapton Hall). In 1968, the New York-based architectural firm of Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines designed and built the Science Center we use today. These images were taken from a booklet of black-and-white photographs produced to document the construction process and to illustrate how faculty and students worked within the building.

-Maria Escudero, Class of 2010

Science Center: Architectural Elevations. Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines. Graphite, paper, watercolor. 41.5 x 81 cm. 1963.Science Center: Architectural Elevations. Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines. Graphite, paper, watercolor. 41.5 x 81 cm. 1963.Science Center. Toby Pearce. Photograph. 16 x 24 cm. ca. 1987.

The Science Center serves as a transition from the International Style to Post-Modernism. Although the building presents a clash of styles typical of Post Modernism — as seen in the juxtaposition of Georgian Revival red brick against geometric Modernist forms — the Science Center ultimately defies easy classification as a Post-Modern structure, as it does not take into account the concept of integrating buildings with their surrounding environment.

-Maria Escudero, Class of 2010

Science Center Lobby. Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines. Paper, marker, watercolor. 26.5 x 50.5 cm. 1966.Science Center: Hindle Auditorium. Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines. Graphite, paper, watercolor. 26.5 x 51.5 cm. 1966.

These illustrations represent designs submitted by the architectural firm Voorhees Walker Smith & Haines for the interior of The Science Center. The interior was based on principles of rationality and flexibility, which allowed for the efficient use of space. The minimalist detail inside the building, reflected by a limited color palette and repetition in the patterning of the walls, adhere to the Modernist maxim: “More is less."

The illustration to the left depicts one of two options proposed for the Science Center's auditorium. The repetition of vertical lines in this design was more attuned with the Science Center’s exterior aesthetic and was chosen. This new lecture hall became the largest on campus, with a capacity of 200 people, and is now known as Hindle Auditorium.

-Maria Escudero, Class of 2010
-Shannon Ryan, Class of 2010

Comments are closed.