LPSC: Cost vs. Beauty vs. the Environment

There are two letters and quite a few comments in yesterday’s GT complaining about simple and ‘ugly’ the proposed Linus Pauling Science Center is.  I agree that it has a plain style – like many other OSU buildings.

However, I would imagine that adding a lot of decorative design and trim adds both to the cost of drawing up the plans and to the cost of the building itself.  Given a limited amount of funding, it seems to make more sense to spend money on the important parts, like lab space.

Second, I’m going to hazard a guess that such a simple design is going to be more environmentally friendly and result in more usuable space.  Certainly that seems to be the case with the Kelley Engineering Building.

Calm down, cranks.  Better to ask if the building is going to have lots of classroom space, and if not, why it’s being located so close to campus, when OSU’s own campus plans dictate that classrooms should be at the core of campus, not labs.

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6 Comments on “LPSC: Cost vs. Beauty vs. the Environment”

  1. Amy Says:

    According to a person on the design committee, the new building has one lecture hall that seats 180 and four teaching labs that will accommodate 24 students at a time and be used all day, every day. There will be at least 6 faculty labs and a variety of support and diagnostic labs. Part of the building will be dedicated to the Linus Pauling Institute that only has research labs for the institute.

    There has been a big debate on the design committee about the number of classrooms in the design. Unfortunately since the Linus Pauling Institute is providing about half the funding, space for classrooms was limited. But of the remaining available space, classrooms were a priority. Also, most of the research labs are for graduate students and while not general teaching labs they do provide space for graduate students to complete their research.

    This would be the first update to the Chemistry labs in almost thirty years. I hope that the city council votes to overturn the historic commission and allows the construction to begin without major changes. A lot of thought has gone into the design including locating the front doors in a location where most of the traffic will come from. Also, the historic commission should have based their decision only on buildings near to the proposed site. Instead they made comparisons based on distant buildings in contradiction to their own rules.

  2. Dennis Says:


    As I understand it, you’re only providing evidence for my argument that such a lab-centered building should be farther away from the core of campus. Don’t get me wrong; labs themselves are fine, and I loooove grad students. But both the LPSC and the KEC are centered on labs and offices, not classrooms, and both will be in the campus core. Unless OSU has changed their master plan in the last few years – which is possible – they aren’t actually following it.

  3. Amy Says:

    Dennis- Lab space is the point of a laboratory subject such as Chemistry. The fact that the Linus Pauling Institute is involved took much of the teaching lab space away from the Chemistry part of the building. But without the support of the Institute, the building would not even have a chance of being built. Teaching labs are classrooms. The four teaching labs will be able to service the entry level science and engineering courses. The graduate students labs are also classrooms in that they allow graduate students to have long term experiments underway without disruption. The only part of the Chemistry side of the building that is not dedicated to student use is the faculty labs. Those were part of the politics of the Chemistry department. So, in short, classrooms are being located close ot the core. By the way, the master plan refers to instructional space and that includes traditional classrooms as well as laboratory space used for student learning.

  4. Dennis Says:

    Amy…. I think you underestimate how much I know about OSU. Given the overall purpose of the building, the placement seems to go against OSU’s stated campus master plan – just because there is one lecture hall and a four labs doesn’t change that.

  5. Amy Says:

    I am on the committee that designed the building so I think you underestimate what I know about the planning, design, and placement of the building. Part of the master plan is to develop a science quad in that location. This building is part of that quad and master plan for OSU. Its design was based partly on the other buildings in the location which is why it does not meet the design of other buildings located further from that location. The biggest problem had as a design committee was the inclusion of the Linus Pauling Institute. They take up so much space that space for more teaching labs was not available. There would not have been more than one more lecture hall in any case. We would have included more teaching labs instead of more lecture rooms.

  6. Dennis Says:

    I stand corrected! =)

    I still maintain that a building with so little relative classroom space should be farther away from the core of campus.

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