Articles Tagged with: STEM

VCU STEM Building Taking Shape

Construction continues on the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Building at Virginia Commonwealth University, designed by Ballinger and Quinn Evans.

Excerpted from VCU News:

Construction of Virginia Commonwealth University’s new science, technology, engineering and math building will reach a milestone next week when the first steel beams will be delivered and erected.

The new 168,000-square-foot, six-floor building is under construction at the site of VCU’s former Franklin Street Gym, which was demolished last year. The STEM building is slated to open by spring 2023.

“It is wonderful to see this new building take shape,” said Jennifer Malat, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. “I am delighted for our faculty, staff and students who will utilize this new space. Not only will this building provide much needed classroom and study space, but it will also feature laboratories where our students can get hands-on experience, putting the knowledge they receive in the classroom into practice. The new STEM building is essential to ensuring that our students become the next leaders in science, math, health care and technology fields.”

Construction has been underway since demolition of the former gym was completed in June. Since then, utilities and the foundation have been installed, as well as all electrical and plumbing services under the first floor. Installation of the steel gets underway March 1.

“The steel erection is impressive though because the building takes form quickly,” said Joe Mannix, assistant director of construction management in the VCU Division of Administration.

The building will expand existing lab space, facilitate innovative and flexible teaching methods, provide students with instructional and study spaces, and free up space in other College of Humanities and Sciences buildings.

It will feature 34 teaching labs; the Math Exchange, an innovative facility for math instruction; a Science Learning Center; two large-capacity classrooms; computer labs; and large- and small-capacity flexible classrooms. It will feature instructional wet and dry labs and classrooms for teaching STEM subjects.

The building will also provide a common space for VCU students taking gateway courses in anthropology, biology, chemistry, forensics, kinesiology, mathematics, physics and psychology. These courses are taken by a majority of College of Humanities and Sciences students, as well as many other students from across the university.

“There are spaces designed in the building for collaboration and teamwork, providing exciting opportunities for the students to work together across disciplines,” said Sally S. Hunnicutt, Ph.D., a professor and associate dean for science and mathematics in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “Likewise, there are meeting spaces for faculty from different disciplines to come together to help students learn science and math. The classroom spaces are intentionally designed for team-based learning — even in the largest classrooms — where faculty instructors can more easily implement the best evidence-based pedagogy.”

The Math Exchange, Hunnicutt said, will be particularly notable. Its design is based on an ellipse, and includes both open and enclosed spaces for students to learn at their own pace or in larger groups with an instructor.

The building will also be the new home of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

“Overall, the new STEM lab and classroom building is tangible evidence that our students are at the heart of our college and of VCU,” Hunnicutt said.

Funding for the $124 million project was provided by the state in 2019. Hourigan is the construction manager for the project and the architects are Ballinger and Quinn Evans.

Learn more about the project here.

Ballinger participates in Virginia STEM Workshop

Senior associate Ben Patane, AIA, LEED AP participated in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) STEM Workshop held at Randolph-Macon College. He gave a presentation and tour of Brock Hall, a recently-completed 30,000 SF addition to the Copley Science Center. Ballinger provided architecture, engineering and lab planning for the building, which includes teaching and research labs for biology, chemistry and environmental science.

VFIC is a not-for-profit organization that seeks to facilitate innovative and collaborative initiatives between Virginia colleges and ensure that a personalized educational experience remains an affordable choice for future students.


Ballinger Engineering for Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories Featured in ASHRAE Journal

The July 2017 edition of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Journal, features an article written by Ballinger Associate Principal, Brad Crowley, PE, LEED AP about the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The article, entitled “University Lab Model for Energy Efficiency”, highlights Ballinger’s design for this interdisciplinary research building which recently won first place from the 35th annual ASHRAE Technology Awards in the category of New Educational Facility.

The article explains that Ballinger engineers faced an enormous challenge in designing a sustainable laboratory environment, and especially one that can quickly convert from a wet to dry lab, such as was required for this 105,000 SF teaching and research building addition. The resulting Undergraduate Teaching Labs met the University’s sustainability goals, achieved a 50% reduction in energy consumption over LEED baseline, and earned LEED Platinum certification. The engineering team designed the building to maximize laboratory safety, indoor environmental quality, and energy efficiency, all while complementing and enhancing the architectural design of the renovation. Energy-efficient measures such as enthalpy and sensible energy recovery wheels, chilled-beams, roof insulation, high performance fume hoods, and a neutral air displacement system harmonize with Ballinger’s design and facilitate active learning for students of biology, chemistry, neuroscience and biophysics at the University.

Read the article

Ballinger’s Science and Engineering Hall at George Washington University wins SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Award

The Science and Engineering Hall at The George Washington University received an Honor Award in the category of New Building by the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).

Spanning a full city block, the 750,000 SF Science and Engineering Hall (SEH) is the largest academic building of its kind in Washington, DC. The building brings together research and teaching spaces previously spread across a dozen buildings, and nearly doubles the space on campus available to a variety of science, engineering, medical and public health programs. Located between the Foggy Bottom Metro station and the Campus Quad, the SEH also serves as a civic passageway for the University.

The SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Awards Program was founded in 2000 to recognize excellence in planning, design and implementation efforts of firms and academic institutions. The Honor Award was announced at the SCUP annual international conference held in Washington, DC.

Ballinger’s Science + Engineering Hall at GW wins AIA Philadelphia Merit Award

Ballinger’s design for the interiors of Science + Engineering Hall at George Washington University received a Merit Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects at Wednesday’s Design Awards Gala. The annual event, held at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, celebrates architecture, architects and advocates of the field.

Spanning a full city block, the 750,000 SF Science + Engineering Hall (SEH) is the largest academic building of its kind in Washington, DC and the first new major laboratory building on the campus in over 50 years. The building brings together research and teaching spaces previously spread across a dozen buildings, and nearly doubles the space on campus available to a variety of science and engineering programs. Located between the Foggy Bottom Metro station and the Campus Quad, the SEH serves as a civic passageway for the University.

The building is organized around a central common space – the Hub – which horizontally and vertically connects research and teaching neighborhoods, internal garden atria, social interaction spaces, and the building’s iconic teaching tower. The teaching tower hangs above the Hub, physically and symbolically uniting the upper floors into a singular public space. The neutral interior palette is accented with bursts of color that further energize the space and assist in wayfinding.