Ocean Technology Center, University of Rhode Island

Kingston, RI

The Ocean Technology Center’’s (OTC) mission is to perform basic and applied research of interest to the corporate and government agencies that make up the National Science Foundations’ membership. The program included administrative offices, a large conference room and flexible office space for start-up industries in the ocean technology field coupled with a laboratory/workshop for the production of prototype marine equipment. Among the research groups currently using the building, undersea archeologists working with Dr. Robert Ballard use the facility for development of advanced undersea vehicles and expedition documentation.

The design separates the program into two types of space: office and laboratory. Each is contained under similar shed-like roofs and made unique with its pattern of glazing and contrasting stucco colors. The building is sited to take maximum advantage of views to Narragansett Bay, with the laboratory behind the offices and higher up the slope. The resulting architecture is both modern and industrial in appearance. A number of funding sources required the architects to work with a limited time frame and a modest budget.

KITE has completed a master plan study which proposed doubling the size of the existing building, to provide additional office, laboratory/work, and conference/work areas. The addition continues the modest forms and simple materials.