For years, one building that was a prominent part of the gateway to (SUNY) Binghamton University left a less-than-positive impression upon visitors; school officials bluntly characterized the appearance of the Science IV building as “forbidding.” The cast-in-place concrete construction needed significant restoration. In some areas of the façade, the brick veneer infills had deteriorated masonry ties that would have required replacement.
The issues were more than just skin deep. There was little insulation, and the exposed frame facilitated significant transfer of cold to the interior, which resulted in serious thermal comfort problems for students and faculty.
Still, Ashley McGraw Architects recognized potential among the problems. The building’s forms and proportions were strong, and while the interiors were dated and poorly utilized, the layout and footprint were well suited to support the proposed new program, the psychology department. And as an integral component within a larger complex of buildings, Science IV had an established role in the landscape of the campus.
“We decided to completely reclad the building,” said Matt Broderick, president of Ashley McGraw. The entire structure was enclosed in a continuous blanket of Foam-Lok sprayfoam insulation, with R-values ranging from 20 to 27. New windows by EFCO and an Alucobond metal rainscreen were installed. Beyond a significant increase in thermal performance, the recladding gave a completely new look to the building, while respecting the design of the original.
“The original building was introverted, with no defined entrance and little reason for people to interact with it unless they had business there,” said Broderick. “Now, with dynamic cladding, large expanses of glazing, and a new grand entrance, the entire community is invited inside.”