Ground, Yale’s new engineering cafe located on the first floor of the Becton Center, is one of ten spaces to receive a 2014 Small Project Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Small Project Awards honor achievements in architecture that excelled despite budgetary or size constraints. This year, projects were judged based on the theme of “Resourcefulness.”
“The award signals that Yale has done the right thing in repurposing a former classroom to illuminate creativity on campus,” said Vincent Wilczynski, deputy dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
According to AIA, Ground’s noteworthy architectural details include the interplay of new and original materials in the close confines of the cafe. Peter Bentel, a partner at Bentel & Bentel, the firm that designed the cafe, said the space aimed to complement the architecture of the Becton Center.
The jury also praised “LuxED,” the large LED screen that stretches across a wall and the ceiling of the cafe, for using technology to reenergize the space. Composed of over 23,000 LEDs, the screen provides a digital canvas to highlight the artistic aesthetics of science, Wilczynski said.
“[Engineering is] at the intersection between pure sciences and humanities,” Bentel said. “The cafe is meant to embody that philosophy.”
Ground opened in January 2013, shortly after the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, also located in the Becton Center.