Purdue University

Brown Hall (Chemistry) Renovation Planning Study

Brown Hall, housing the Department of Chemistry, is scheduled for renovation of undergraduate teaching labs for the first time since 1972. The program includes 13 general chemistry labs, four organic chemistry labs, one advanced organic chemistry lab, two analytical/biochemistry labs and one shared instrumentation lab.

Four major phases of construction are planned, one in each quadrant of the building vertically across multiple floors. The construction phasing plan keeps a critical number of labs in use throughout the multi-year schedule.

The goals were to:

  • Support an inquiry-based and active learning model/pedagogy
  • Use technology to enhance learning
  • Add biochemistry as a new course offering
  • Build in flexibility to meet the growing enrollment demand
  • Teach chemistry in a real lab setting

The facility response encouraged several innovations, including:

  • Elimination of the check out/check in student equipment system, which saved not only drawer space, but also two weeks’ time each semester, now available for lab time
  • Island benches where individuals and groups can work on projects while sharing and discussing data
  • Goggle-free write-up areas with technology for students to work on their reports and display data and concepts
  • Infrastructure that incorporates energy efficiency for ventilation, fume hoods and lighting as well as water conservation


West Lafayette, Indiana


69,000 GSF


Lab utilization analysis, programming, planning and design


CSO Architects