VASSAR COLLEGE, NEW YORK
CLINE BETTRIDGE BERNSTEIN LIGHTING DESIGN
(CBBLD) AND ENNEAD ARCHITECTS
The Bridge for Laboratory Sciences at Vassar
College in Poughkeepsie, New York, designed by
Ennead Architects, consolidates scientific disciplines
previously dispersed across Vassar’s 405ha (1000-acre)
The lighting by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting
Design highlights the building’s transparency and
subtly reinforces the sweeping form of the 122m-long,
two-storey building, which curves gently in response
to the site, forming a literal and symbolic bridge over
a stream called the Fonteyn Kill. Ennead describes
the Bridge as ‘a transformative connector, physically
connecting the sciences and the Vassar community
with the surrounding wetlands’.
The main entrance is on the building’s short facade,
which is clad in highly textured, local stone and
floodlit to provide continuity between the inside
and the outside. Integrating the building with the
landscape, light from the interior silhouettes its
tapered vertical elements, evoking birch trees, and an
illuminated handrail floats the main entrance, making
it appear to rise out of the wetlands.
This 8m-high lobby/lounge features a chandelier by
Vibia, a customised version of its Ameba pendant.
Fixtures with a 40-degree beam width, sited just
8cm from the wall provide uniform uplighting to its
full width, grazing its rugged surface, and creating
dramatic shadows avoiding the stairs blocking the
light. They are also fitted flush with the floor and
within a ceiling slot with a baffle to prevent glare.
Externally, fins provide solar shading and, with the
UV-coated fritted glazing, minimise bird collisions.