|Posted on Monday, February 07, 2005|
We Mean Business. Illinois Business.
SIUE School of Engineering|
Providing program visibility and future adaptability
By VICKI BENNINGTON
Engineering students tend to take their work very seriously. Consequently, they spend a lot of time inside, working on projects, studying and going to class.
The engineering building on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville was built to address the needs of these students, beginning with the structure itself essentially serving as a learning environment.
Tim McMinn, vice president of FGM Architects-Engineers Inc. in O'Fallon and lead architect on the project, says everything about the building expresses engineering, design and architecture, adding visibility to SIUE's outstanding engineering program - and that was a primary goal.
Completed in 2000, the $28 million project encompasses the 128,000-square-foot building on four floors, along with the high-tech equipment housed inside.
Made of structural steel and concrete with brick and stone veneers and curtain wall exteriors, FGM included an acre of glass in the building to blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors.
In keeping with the look of the campus, the building does not have a true back or front, making it approachable from any side. McMinn said the concept began with the idea that the engineering building needed to have its own identity, yet also be visually a part of the campus.
The "SIUE" burgundy brick, made by Richards Brick Co. of Edwardsville, is incorporated into the exterior to match the shade used in original buildings constructed in the 1960s. FGM also designed and developed the landscaping to totally integrate the building, down to the variety of the trees surrounding it.
The labs in the core of the building are back-to-back so a lab can literally expand or contract by moving a partition as the need arises.
The hallway then wraps outside of the central core with an outer glass wall surrounding it, to give students a feeling of being outside as they change classes. The walkways are cantilevered so they don't actually touch the glass wall, adding a three-dimensional look, and giving the walkways a floating appearance. A circular stairway joins all four floors.
For the exterior glass wall, FGM used aluminum trusses that extend from the floor to the roof, spanning 46-1/2 feet. To allow this much light into the building but maintain energy efficiency, a 1-1/2-inch-thick thermal glass was used, permitting a significant amount of light to pass through, but reducing heat loss. The basement floor contains labs that generate heat, dust or articulate matter with "clean" labs on upper levels. Lab floors are equipped with engineered porcelain of a high strength rating and can be easily cleaned. Rubber flooring was used on upper floors to increase auditory comfort.
FGM met the difficult challenge of preparing for unknown future engineering studies by creating an ample infrastructure of fiber optics, power, heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, and plumbing, along with the ability to adapt and change labs at any given time.
The engineering building received the Illinois Capital Development Board's 2001 Thomas H. Madigan Award and the Excellence in Masonry Award from the Masonry Institute of Southern Illinois.
The general contractor was Williams Brothers Construction Inc. of Peoria.