Project profile: Swenson Civil Engineering Building

Apr 30, 2013

The Swenson Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth is a two-story structure wrapped around double-height laboratories. The program called for 35,300 s.f. of space for instructional, research, and administrative functions. Spaces include faculty offices, student workspaces, classrooms, and centrally located structural and hydraulics laboratories.

The building is located on the north end of campus, adjacent to an existing engineering building. Engaging the adjacent building and responding to existing pedestrian patterns presented challenges. The site sloped significantly from east to west, while access was required in both locations. The project team successfully designed a building that seamlessly engages the adjacent structure, reinforces existing circulation patterns, and mediates grade changes.

Designed to display systems as a pedagogical tool, the building showcases structural and mechanical processes and stormwater management techniques. It acts as a working classroom where design plays an integral educational role, and civil engineering processes are illuminated.

Sustainable strategies were incorporated into the design process and aesthetics. The University and State required that the building meet LEED Silver standards. The University encouraged incorporation of sustainable principles to foster development of civil engineers as responsible environmental stewards. The final design achieved LEED Gold certification.
(2013 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects recipient)

AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The American Institute of Architects

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