The teaching building for the Departments of Physics/Astronomy and Mathematics/Computer Science encourages interdisciplinary studies in a facility that provides for advanced instructional technology and interactive pedagogy. Ellenzweig provided feasibility study, programming, architectural design, laboratory planning and design, and construction administration services. The building houses teaching and research laboratories, classrooms and lecture halls, conference and seminar rooms, faculty offices and a reading room/library, as well as a planetarium and observatory. Specialized physics laboratories and classrooms support Dickinson's nationally acclaimed “Workshop Physics” collaborative model with central demonstration areas surrounded by T-shaped benches functioning alternately for experiments and shared computer operations. Similar interactive classrooms are provided for mathematics and computer science.
The L-shaped building plan provides shared spaces at the intersection of the two wings that enclose a garden and outdoor classroom. The building exterior features the predominant campus material - a local limestone - on campus façades and stucco on the private “garden” sides. The building form expresses important program elements: the lecture hall and library are contained in an angled stone-clad form at one end, and the planetarium and observatory are located at the other, in a dramatic metal-clad conical form, contrasting with the rough-hewn stone. The planetarium/observatory element is separated from the main façade by a delicate glass lobby, providing separate access for the public.
The Tome Science Building received Honor Awards for Excellence in Architecture from both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New England Regional Council and the Boston Society of Architects (local AIA chapter), and an Educational Facilities Design Excellence Award given jointly by the Boston Society of Architects and the Society for College and University Planning.