BAC Doering Center / Spillman Farmer Architects

© Courtesy of

Architects: Spillman Farmer Architects
Location: Bryn Athyn, PA, USA
Project Team: Dan Harrigan, Joseph Biondo, Michael Metzger, Deborah Innis, Joanne Titcomb, Salvatore Verrastro, Sierra Krause, Wayne Stitt, Randy Galiotto, Christa Duelberg-Kraftician, Brian Brandis
Structural Engineering: Ritchie Engineering
Lab Planner: SST Planners
Landscape Design: Carter VanDyke Associates
Mechanical: Snyder Hoffman Engineers
Contractors: Whiting-Turner Contracting
Project Area: 39,000 sq ft
Project Year: 2008-2009
Photographs: Steven Wolfe, William Deegan

Spillman Farmer Architects has completed the new multidisciplinary Doering Science Building for Bryn Athyn College, a small liberal arts and science college in Pennsylvania where the average class size is just ten students. Placed near the early 20th century Bryn Athyn Cathedral, the new college building is designed to complement the site and to adhere to the college’s mission: to enhance students’ civil, moral, and spiritual life, as well as to contribute to human spiritual welfare.

sketch 02

Across 39,000 sq ft, the three-storey facility supports the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Environmental Sciences and features both dry and wet teaching and research laboratories. The programming phase of the building was facilitated by Strategic Science & Technology Planners (SST Planners), a Virginia-based expert in academic laboratory planning.

© Courtesy of Spillman Farmer Architects

In addition to the typical laboratory facilities, this new centre of the sciences was designed to promote collaboration and student/faculty engagement through a combination of small group spaces and sitting areas located to foster spontaneous interaction. On entering the building visitors are welcomed by a dramatic full height lobby which acts as the centre of circulation throughout the building. The Labs, which are highly transparent, and have a direct connection to the outdoors are organized around the public atrium creating an openness and connection for students to their surroundings.

© Courtesy of Spillman Farmer Architects

“The campus of Bryn Athyn has a rich history of art and architecture,” said Joseph N. Biondo of Spillman Farmer Architects. “The Doering Center was conceived with simple forms without extravagant or superfluous decoration. The building’s exterior masonry and glass façade play off the proportions and scale of the existing campus buildings. While elegantly woven details of stone and pay homage to the rich architectural history of Bryn Athyn. The building placement and program is organized to create an outdoor court on direct axis with the Brickman Student Center. Here the glass enclosure, meant to show activity within, becomes a welcoming gesture to the campus.


“This three storey glassed atrium becomes a gathering place or teaching opportunity for the student body.”

The building is on target to achieve LEED Gold certification.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "BAC Doering Center / Spillman Farmer Architects" 07 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • laval_mosley

    wow this is quite nice

  • Diane Geanuleas

    Thank you for publishing this.

  • Bryn Athyn Student

    Too bad it leaks in four places.