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James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, University of Minnesota Duluth

Wednesday 25 Aug 2010

Material discipline

Credit: Kate Joyce Studios 
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31/08/10 JJ, minneapolis
pretty cool. I'm working on a U of MN project right now, and they have been much more conservative than this project. funny, Duluth more open minded than minneapolis???
30/08/10 bigTUNAge, Detroit
It is always a pleasure to look at well-designed boxes. The attention to detail is magnificent! For those of you aspiring designers looking to idolize a firm with good taste, solid composition, and outstanding use of materials; look no further. Nicely done, RBA!


Dismantled pickle barrels and regional, reclaimed wood used in university extension 

The University of Minnesota Duluth has instituted a new building for its Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (BSCE). The new building provides approximately 35,300 sq ft to house classrooms, instructional and research laboratories, and office space for the Civil Engineering Department. The new building builds on and reinforces the existing circulation patterns that are part of the UMD campus.

The new Science and Engineering Building is LEED Gold Certified. A healthy environment for the occupants was achieved by integrating sustainable strategies that are part of the LEED rating system for new construction. These include: increased ventilation, use of low-emitting construction materials, advanced lighting control, advanced thermal comfort control, access to daylight and views for occupied spaces, and the use of an under- floor air distribution system. Native plantings and rain gardens dot the east and west elevations. A green roof with native plant materials helps to reduce storm runoff, cool the building, reduce noise, and reduce glare from surrounding buildings.

Using exterior materials that are consistent with existing campus buildings and utilising locally sourced materials from excavation and mining in the area, the building maintains a connection to the campus and to the regional economy. Two roof scuppers are clad in regional, reclaimed wood from dismantled pickle barrels whilst the main entry walk is a study in the manufacture of steel - burnished steel plates line the sidewalk, taconite pellets are adjacent and provide tactile reference to steelmaking and a perforated Corten steel rain screen shields the entry.

The building as a teaching tool is central to the design, for example the south wall of the lab retains the tilt up braces and kickers used to support the panels during construction. A glass wall separating the main lab from the entry and circulation path provides an opportunity to witness experiments in progress. A natural Corten steel wall separates the entry stair from the exterior and retains its original appearance while the same Corten on the exterior was left to weather to its desired patina.

Key Facts

Status Completed
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Ross Barney Architects

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