James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building

Planning for Higher Education, October-December 2011 | Go to article overview

James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building


University of Minnesota, Duluth with Ross Barney Architects; also SJA Architects; Oslund and Associates; MSA Professional Services; MBJ Inc.; Dunham; Hallberg Engineering; Stahl Construction

Jury Comments

The jury said, "... fun, clean and has color ... love the public gestures this building makes in several locations ... they got a very special building which will make them know their profession (civil engineering) is special ..."

Project Highlights

* This state-of-the art facility includes 35,300sf of space for instruction, research, administration, structural and hydraulics laboratories.

* Building materials were selected to showcase the beauty of locally available raw, natural, unaltered materials that provide the basis for a sustainable building product.

* The layout and openness of the main building spaces enhances the educational experience by providing visual connections to activities within and fostering interactions between students and faculty. The building acts as a working classroom for the students using the space, exposing the systems and materials in a unique way.

* The centrally located hydraulics laboratory is a main node of activity to which other spaces relate visually and functionally.

* Sustainable principles were an integral design impetus because the curriculum directly impacts the natural environment and the building educates civil engineers on sustainable principles. …

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