Seamans Center for Engineering Arts and Sciences - South Annex Addition

BNIM Architects

Recognitions: 2018 AIA Iowa Design Award, Iowa Architect Spring 2019

Project Description

The South Annex Addition to the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences enhances the community within the College of Engineering and facilitates connection and collaboration. It is a five-story addition to an existing building, comprised of a two-story lobby and three-story elevated bar that serves a range of engineering research, academic support, and classroom functions. A transparent lobby creates a new front door to the college, whose two-story volume is the link between the existing building and the elevated massing of the new upper floors. A student design lab provides a multi-functional showcase at the center of this intersection, surrounded with the activity of student gathering and study space. Prominent campus pedestrian corridors that connect the University to downtown bisected the existing site, while significant sub-grade campus utilities dominated the sub-surface condition. Elevating the structure above-grade provided an economical solution to avoid extensive utility relocation and reinforced campus planning opportunities. The site design enhances the existing pedestrian pathway by providing covered bike parking, various outdoor seating amenities, site integrated stormwater management strategies, and accessibility across the elevation change - all while engaging the public with the College of Engineering activities. The upper three floors of the elevated building are clad with a high performance precast concrete rain screen assembly, matching in color with the existing building elements. Façade materiality is comprised of an alternating composition of smooth and recessed fluted panels positioned above and below fenestrations. Maximizing daylighting within interior spaces informed position and composition of the glazed elements across the façade; these openings, in concert with the ribbed panels, animate the elongated building on a congested urban site.