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Construction & Design

Norten over the moon with new NASA assignment

TEN Arquitectos has designed a new research support building for a NASA field center.

Built in 1942, the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland houses more than 3,000 scientists, contractors and administrators and has been the site of many innovations in space flight.

The architects will apply some of those NASA inventions to design the building to LEED silver specifications, including photovoltaics, tnemec paint and insulation. Construction began last month with an expected completion in 2020.

The facility consists of a constellation of primarily World War II-era brick buildings, which, despite their semi-circular distribution, lacked a central focus.

Set to rise on the main artery of Lewis Field—the center’s primary campus, and a recently minted historic district — the two story, 60,000 s/f Research Support Building will provide a new and contemporary public face for the NASA facility with amenities and opportunities to engage the entire campus population, serving as both anchor and core.

“If we create architecture that neglects its context and does nothing to activate its surroundings, then we haven’t actually created architecture at all. We’ve merely created a building.” says Enrique Norten, Founder of TEN Arquitectos.

The main building will comprise a mix of dedicated and fluid work areas. A series of both open and private office spaces, meeting, conference, and training rooms, as well as an exchange store will be distributed throughout the two floors. Enclosed double height and landscaped internal courtyards will draw natural light into the surrounding work spaces and provide additional places to gather.

Offering more than 86,000 s/f of landscaped lawn, the exterior, dubbed “Wright Commons”, will serve as the central green.

“NASA is a ‘culture of functionalism’. This new building seeks to work within the vocabulary of the research infrastructure, like the amazing domes, gravity drops and pipes that weave throughout the campus. Our hope is this building will act as a platform for this community, connecting them to each other, to resources, to their past achievements and future opportunities,” said Andrea Steele, a partner at TEN.

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