Fall 2004 Table of Contents.
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 Amphibian Advocates, by Charlotte Overby.

 

The design of MU's new Life Sciences Center, executed principally by the architectural firms BNIM and Anshen+Allen, beautifully mirrors the academic virtues the center is meant to promote: openness, creativity and the free exchange of ideas.

The building also admirably captures the shock of newness that characterizes the science to be practiced within its walls, as well as the thrilling, occasionally disconcerting, new relationship to the natural world that this science portends. Gleaming steel juts aggressively into the building's vast open spaces. Fluorescent white light beams down laser-like from recessed fixtures. Furtive patches of sky appear caged within grids of glass. Voices sound back when spoken, reverberating across the center's sea of hard surfaces.

Columbia Daily Tribune photo editor and MU graduate student Brian Kratzer sought to capture these qualities and others during a series of visits to the center just before its official opening this fall. Much like the scientists and students who inhabit the building's 134,000 square feet of research space, Kratzer saw his work as an opportunity to push the boundaries of his own experience and expertise.

"The only architectural photography I've been involved with were assignments that had come down the line in my years working for daily newspapers, the sort of thing that doesn't allow you to go into the depth that this does," Kratzer says. "It was great for me to exercise my creative muscle, to have the time to explore details, themes involving line and shape, form and repetition."

He cites the image of the center's soaring atrium, shown at top left, as an example. "I didn't want to make the most obvious 'atrium photo' -- it is such a striking space that it would be very easy to take one photograph to depict it all. My goal was to show the beauty in the details."

       
     
       
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