University of Texas at Dallas Engineering and Computer Science West / SmithGroup

University of Texas at Dallas Engineering and Computer Science West / SmithGroup

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  • Area area of ​​this architecture project

    206593 ft²

  • Year Final year of this architectural project



  • Photographs

    Photographs: Bill Timmerman, Wade Griffith

  • Manufacturer brands with products used in this architectural project

    Manufacturer: AutoDesk, Terrace & marble, 9wood, Kewaunee Scientific, Kovach, Woodwright flooring, ACT 3D, Continental Cut Stone, Trimble Navigation, Trimstone, USG ceilings

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Text description of the architects. The University of Texas at Dallas took the rare opportunity to partner with a burgeoning engineering program to create a next generation research facility. The university used the construction project as an opportunity to enable a new curriculum structure with the aim of attracting more high-level students, researchers and faculties.

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Traditional class and laboratory environments are being replaced with accessible, interactive workspaces where students can immerse themselves in hands-on learning from day one. All laboratories and classrooms have fully transparent fronts that offer an unobstructed view of the research and learning activities contained therein. New Maker Spaces and flexible environments for active learning enable collaborative learning, promote team-based problem solving, involve students and help establish peer connections. The maker rooms are complemented by a multitude of collaboration nodes throughout the building, which provide a convenient storage space between classes or meeting rooms for group studies.

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The building itself is designed as a teaching aid, with exposed and color-coded building systems demonstrating how the building works. Perforated metal ceilings with illuminated plenums allow students to track systems in corridors, and glazed shafts provide visual access to exhaust ducts and elevator mechanics

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The facility is designed to adapt to rapid technological changes and changes in research. The mix of high-bay, wet and dry laboratories supports the three areas of special research – energy, robotics and nano-biotechnology. All contained in a highly adaptable chassis that anticipates change and is pillar-free and obstacle-free for ultimate flexibility.

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In teaching research clusters, classrooms are located next to research laboratories, so students can experience research on the same subject that they are learning in the courses. Faculty, postdoctoral and PhD students are in a mixed space between the teaching and research laboratory, which improves access and collaboration between students, faculties and researchers.

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Students of all majors flock to the building to collaborate and socialize. While the colossal structure maximizes the available land capacity and creates a new strong urban edge for the campus, the building is intentionally porous and laid out to create driveways through the halls or courtyard. The efficient U-shaped shape creates a large-scale interpretation of the traditional Texas courtyard with a breeze and breathable shadow grille on the roof.

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While the internal transparency is maximized, the external visibility is also maximized. Garage doors rise into the inner courtyard and allow passers-by to enter workshops. The Freshman Design Lab on the first floor shows the different approaches to engineering training. The building was designed to provide actionable action throughout the day. It promotes the student experience for everyone on campus.

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The Engineering and Computing West building’s design is a rich amalgamation of research, teaching, and student experience rarely found in higher education institutions. The building is a new model for engaging and retaining students in STEM programs more effectively, promoting equality of access through design, and encouraging positive change for future generations of technical research and discovery.

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