Vermont Agricultural & Environmental Laboratory, Randolph Center, Vermont
Wagner Hodgson worked closely with the architects to site this $21 Million, 38,000 SF laboratory on a 13 acre, sloping agricultural site in central Vermont. The site was chosen partly for its central location to provide services to all Vermonters and to encourage collaboration with students and faculty of nearby Vermont Technical College. The new facility is integrated into the hillside, mid slope to minimize view impacts and to separate functions between the upper floor which largely open to the public and the lower floor which is private support functions. A permeable paver parking lot provides visitor parking on the upper level of the site. A large rain garden supplements the permeable paving and collects run-off for infiltration. An entry plaza provides seating for visitors and staff and includes a public sculpture by Jim Sardonis, a Randolph resident. The sculpture titled “Big Frog, Small Pond” is meant to reflect the large amount of water quality testing that the lab performs. Local granite slab benches create informal seating in the shade of Honeylocust trees. Sculptural picnic tables provide room for staff to congregate adjacent to interior conference space. The Corten steel and weathered wood of the building along with the native grasses and perennials are meant to evoke the agricultural heritage of this state and region.
All but 2 acres of the site has been restored to agricultural uses including grazing, meadows and fruit trees.