Form and Dichroic Light
Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University
by Michelle LaFoe and Isaac Campbell
Official Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Leete's Island Books
Available through your favorite local bookseller or at
With their groundbreaking building design for Scott Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, architects Michelle LaFoe and Isaac Campbell show how their OFFICE 52 Architecture studio’s outside-the-box thinking and imaginative problem solving yielded an innovative and transformative design vision for this prestigious project. By weaving together architecture, contemporary fabrication technology, and an ingenious campus planning approach, and by leveraging their design experience with some of the most esteemed institutions in the country, they reveal how they won an invited national design competition with a design reverent to its designated place. With numerous illustrated examples, the authors share their studio’s creative process and demonstrate how they reimagined the prescribed planning strategy for Scott Hall to produce a unique design for the building, its complex site, and its demanding research program.
The Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall is the College of Engineering’s recently completed Nano-Bio-Energy Technologies Building on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. OFFICE 52’s design for this iconic building reflects Carnegie Mellon’s interdisciplinary and collaborative culture to create a new, vibrant research hub that brings together a diverse array of engineering disciplines and external partnerships for collaboration and exploration in new methods of intellectual inquiry. In essence Scott Hall is a campus within a campus and a new innovation center anchoring the west end of the University’s historic Hornbostel Mall.
The program elements of the new 109,000 square foot building include an 11,000 square-foot class 10|100 research-grade clean room for nano-scale exploration, a home for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, the Disruptive Health Technologies Institute, the Engineering Research Accelerator, and collaboration spaces that compose a Public Room that is the heart of the building. Completed in 2017 with a total construction cost of $81.5 million, Scott Hall received LEED Gold certification as one of the most energy efficient lab buildings in the country.
about the authors
MICHELLE LAFOE, AIA is a licensed architect and accomplished artist, and as such she has forged a path in both project-based and series-based work. She has designed award-winning higher education, museum and architectural installation projects, and her professional awards include a Fulbright-Hayes Scholarship and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She has taught in Rome and Perugia, Italy, lectured at and chaired national conferences, and has exhibited internationally. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts at Rice University and a Post-Baccalaureate Graduate degree in Drawing and Painting from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. As a Distinguished University Research Fellow, she completed her Master of Architecture degree in the history of architecture and urban design and worked with Dr. Richard Betts at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She later completed a year of independent post-graduate research at Yale University in design and fabrication technology. In addition to founding OFFICE 52 Architecture, Michelle has practiced with AIA Gold Medal winner Cesar Pelli, FAIA, at Cesar Pelli & Associates (now Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects) and with Centerbrook Architects.
ISAAC CAMPBELL, AIA has planned, programmed and designed highly sustainable environments and award-winning buildings for educational institutions, corporate and private clients in the United States and abroad for over 25 years. His design work has been recognized with awards from both the American Institute of Architects and the Society for College and University Planning. Isaac began his career in the office and AIA Gold Medal winner Cesar Pelli, FAIA, where he quickly became a Design Team Leader for major projects including the Chubu Teiju Cultural Center and Museum in Kurayoshi, Japan and the New York Times Headquarters Competition in New York City. For the last 15 years, much of Isaac’s work has focused on creating transformational environments for educational institutions. These include Scott Hall, Carnegie Mellon University’s new Nano-Bio-Energy Technologies Building, Tykeson Hall for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon, Stanford University’s award-winning Science and Engineering Quad and the new nine-building Knight Management Center for the Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Isaac received his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University after study at the School of Liberal Arts at Alfred University in New York. He has lectured extensively and has been a guest critic at numerous architecture and design programs across the country.
Find Form and Dichroic Light in hardcover at your favorite local bookseller or at Amazon.com.