University of Texas at Dallas Engineering Building
Responding to bold retention goals set by the University, interactive spaces abound in the new building. Undergrads can immerse themselves in research and hands-on learning early on—with unprecedented access to large project-based workspaces featuring sophisticated, commercial-grade equipment in unique and specialized instructional lab spaces. A highly-visible Freshman Design Center on the first floor advertises this approach to engagement with an active “maker space.” Beginning on day one, engineering students are making, inventing, building, testing—and staying.
The Engineering and Computer Science West Building is itself an engaging learning tool. Its expressive and performative design deliberately exposes systems and components to literally demonstrate big engineering ideas at work. All mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology systems are color-coded to identify specific ductwork, piping and electrical systems. Carefully organized, the systems are completely exposed in certain areas and in others are visible through perforated ceilings thoughtfully lit with LEDs to highlight the components. Metering devices on mechanical systems gather and display performance data to building occupants—a feature that enables students to experiment on the building itself.
The new structure forms a gateway to the campus, sited to create a new path for traversing to campus and designed to be porous, encouraging all students to funnel through its outdoor courtyard. Attuned to its North Texas environment, the new building uses several strategies to ensure its high-performance in its highly variable climate. The building’s orientation, efficient U-shape form and various shading elements leverage daylighting and heat gain intelligently. The courtyard is a breezeway to draw air into and up through a calibrated trellis, while the canopy shades the interior facades and ground. The effect creates a micro-climate of comfortable outdoor space extending its possible use as instructional space or even formal event space. The Engineering and Computer Science West Building is LEED Gold certified.