The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 63

Punting with Bill Shadwick 41 Design We also identified, as an important criterion in organizing the building, the notion that all scientists should be visible to colleagues as they arrived and departed, further engendering the sense of togetherness and the interdependence of the group. The resulting building concept of the palazzo-like block with public space on an elevated piano nobile and scientists private offices wrapped around a three-story court was a response to this idea. The centrepieces of the courtyard were to be a sensuous wood-clad helical stair, a fireplace with library above, and a garden beyond and behind. Light-filled common interior terraces immediately outside somewhat monastic offices complete the order of the building. Since Fields was different from many other university buildings in that it was designed to accommodate a multiplicity of visitors from other academic institutions, the offices organized around the court have an inherent democratic feel. It is possible to accommodate a post-graduate visitor immediately next door to a famous scientist, all working together on a challenge in pure mathematical science that, if solved, could potentially change lives and further scientific knowledge and understanding. Mathematical considerations abound in the design of the building, from its latent nine square grid; helical/axial stair; golden section proportions of the palazzo and its windows; 8x8x4-inch cleft Bruce Peninsula limestone masonry units calculated to deliver a delightful serendipitous visual play; and in the memory of the original design’s library and its oculus, which was intended to provide scientists with a framed view of the cosmos. Regrettably, a timber domed library with an oculus that was part of the original design concept and was proposed to project in front of the College Street façade of the palazzo