The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Science Center
Hillier Environmental Graphic Design
John Bosio (Principal in Charge), Amy Rees
Agnew Signs, Lynch Exhibits
The Peddie School
Albert Vecerka, Esto; Hillier
The design approach was to engage the students' educational experience on many levels. No matter where students and visitors go in the building, they are surrounded by science.
The unique central space, designed as a place where teachers and students can relax, features science art in the form of a 16-foot, colorful DNA model suspended between the first and second floors. Visible to the rest of the campus through a three-story glass wall, it telegraphs the importance of science study. Large-scale molecular structure diagrams are integrated into the walls of the chemistry wing, illustrating the molecular structures of chocolate, aspirin, caffeine, and orange juice. A scale model of the solar system is cut and stained into the concrete floor of the physics wing; an interpretive panel and legend provide distances from the sun.
Each of the fourteen classrooms is named for a famous scientist and features a larger than life image of that scientist at its entrance. The doors to the restrooms on each floor of the three-story building also serve to bring science into the everyday; on the chemistry floor, the doors have molecular structure diagrams of estrogen and testosterone.
Components of the donor recognition system include the exterior building identification signage, acrylic wall plaques, and a donor wall. Translucent acrylic and brushed aluminum plaques support the levels of giving, ranging from teaching tables to classrooms to the major gift by the Annenberg Foundation. The donor wall is integrated into a paneled bamboo wall in the central lobby using inlaid and applied letterforms as well as silk-screened text.
"This project is a superb example of the integration of environmental graphics and signage in a way that neither competes nor become subservient to the architecture. The large-scale molecular formulas inlaid into bamboo panels are informational and graphically pleasing, lending a depth to the walls that simple yet elegant. Contrasting this with the rough staining of a scale model of the solar system in the concrete floor, the space does not feel too precious or contrived. Large black-and-white photographs of scientists identifying the classrooms gives a human feel to what could be sterile, laboratorial space."