Text description provided by the architects. The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & The Ancient World is housed in the newly refurbished Rhode Island Hall at the center of the campus of Brown University. A Historic Greek Revival building, the structure has gained new life with the insertion of a new interior and programatic layout in a way that contrasts the building's normative exterior. Anmahian Winton Architects sought to create a space that promoted interaction between students and faculty guided by partitions, screens, and structure formed by a clear material logic.
A palette of wood and glass reflects light deep into the space and guides visitors through the various elements of the project in a way that differs greatly from the largely compartmentalized layout that the building formerly possessed. Wood screens within the building create a warmth in contrast to the translucent white glass and white walls that serve a practical purpose within a space where sensitive materials are handled.
The clean material language of the project parallels the architect's view for the Joukowsky Institute. "While the exterior was carefully restored, the interior was completely gutted of all structure and contents to make room for a vocabulary that challenges the notion of archaeology as a conservative and dusty pursuit and supports the mission of the institute as a progressive leader in the field of archaeology."
This clean interior is structured around an enclosed glass-clad central pod within the space. This element is instrumental to the function of the new space. The object within the historic shell provides enclosed space within it, private space atop it, and serves to prescribe the flow of people around it.
The project also has sustainable ambitions. The first building on the Brown campus to be certified LEED Gold , the Joukowsky Institute through its logical planning, material use and daylighting strategies is in essence an architectural artifact in its own right.