Shimmield Residence Hall at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Located on a steep hillside above the Damariscotta River in mid-coast Maine, the Residence Hall supports the Bigelow Laboratory for Marine Science’s educational mission by providing living facilities for college students and visiting scientists. Originally programmed as a dormitory on the top of the hill with visiting scientist cottages down by the water, the design team combined the students and scientists in one shared facility midway between the labs and the waterfront. The Residence Hall is designed so the students and scientists can live and learn together, sharing meals, ideas, fellowship, and recreation.

The 15,300 SF building has 32 student beds arranged in quads, and 3 studio apartments and one 2-bedroom apartment for visiting scientists. In addition, it has a large community kitchen and dining room, lounge space, a recreation and meeting room, fitness space, and a large outdoor terrace. A strong sense of community is fostered in the design, with a focus on the shared spaces rather than the personal spaces. The shared spaces are generous in size, whereas the dormitory and apartments are small, encouraging the students and scientists to congregate in the living spaces for more exchange of information, fellowship, and collaboration.

The intent of the design was to weave in the landscape and context that is unique to Boothbay and the site itself. Using form, transparency, and landscape, the design blurs the boundaries of inside/outside and site/building. Set into the hillside, the entry courtyard is formed by a prominent ledge outcropping. Stepping down the hillside, the lower dormitory level is covered with a green roof.

The building was designed to rigorous performance criteria. With air infiltration (blower door) tests that exceeded Passive House standards, an EUI of 18 kBtu/sf/year (in the top 5% nationally), and an 85kW solar array that more than offsets its energy use, the building is among the highest performing buildings of its kind in the northeast (see COTE Measure #6: Design for Energy, below).

Architecture or A/E Firm Name

Scott Simons Architects, LLC


Austin Smith, AIA


Scott Simons, Austin Smith, Phil Chaney, Julia Tate


Becker Structural Engineering, Allied Engineering (MEP/FP), Woodard and Curran (Civil), Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture


East Boothbay, Maine


Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

General Contractor

Consigli Construction Co.