The Wold Center connects engineering with the traditional liberal arts and sciences through both its academic functions and its campus location. The Center further reinforces the themes of unity that have been critical throughout Union’s history: the unity of disciplines, the unity of knowledge and the unity of intellectual cultures. The Wold Center includes several elements that symbolize the uniting role of the building.
C-Zones: Showcasing Collaboration and Connections
Three areas in the atrium, indicated by three connected circles in the floor, were identified as locations for symbolic displays. Collectively, these areas are known as “C-Zones,” with the “C” evoking many of the ideas at the core of the building’s intellectual purpose: collaboration, connection, convergence and change. The C-Zone display areas will be changed out periodically to reflect various multidisciplinary themes. The initial theme for the C-Zones, Time: Union’s Past, Present and Future, is brought to life through three displays: a professionally-produced video timeline entitled Union College: Portraits in Time that chronicles important people and moments in Union's history on a three-screen video wall; a time capsule containing messages, photographs, poems and art from the Union community, components of which will be opened both 50 and 100 years after its installation; and the College’s orrery, a model of the solar system purchased by Union's trustees at their first meeting in June, 1795.
Visitors to the Wold Center will also notice a unique set of colored lines integrated into the 2nd floor railing, which represent the light pattern emitted by a chemical element when its atoms release photons. Each element has its own unique spectrum, and the line spectrum on the railing denotes atomic oxygen. Not only is oxygen an essential element for all human life, but it is closely tied to core activities in the Wold Center. It is a major component of the biomolecules studied in the biochemistry labs, of the aerogels fabricated in the aerogel lab and of the plants and animals studied in the environmental science labs.