Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, has broken ground on a $93m research building at the College of Engineering, which will expand the laboratory capacity and serve as a collaboration hub for students and faculty.
Scheduled to open in 2020, the new 133,000ft² Engineering Research Building will support advanced research and economic development. The design emphasises makerspaces, collaborative research facilities and flexible gathering areas.
Richmond-based Baskervill and Smith McClane Architects and Boston-based Goody Clancy have designed the building. Washington-based Page/SST Planners have designed the laboratory spaces.
The project is being financed by the state, VCU and private support.
College of Engineering dean Barbara Boyan said: “The college was established as a public-private partnership with a mandate to educate engineers who will fuel economic development in the region. The ERB reflects our commitment to meeting this goal.
“Virginia’s support of this critical addition to our teaching and research mission is a strong vote of confidence in our program. We are proud to step into this next phase of our development with the commonwealth as our partner.”
The ERB’s entrance at Cary and Belvidere streets has been designed by Smith McClane Architects. The pavilion design reflects the dawn of industrial engineering in the 19th century.
A brick-and-glass pavilion and large courtyard will feature power-equipped seating areas, where students can research and collaborate.
The office of Engineering Career Services and economic development resources for the internship and co-op programmes will also be established on the first floor.
A 9,000ft² Innovation Maker Facility will promote the development of engineering and prototype development skills.
The marketspace will also include resources such as 3D printing, bench electrical fabrication, tabletop equipment and hand tools.
The second, third and fourth floors will accommodate faculty research labs, offices, spaces for graduate and undergraduate student research, as well as interactive areas for group seminars.
Multidisciplinary and collaborative faculty research labs will feature wet laboratory facilities for biomedical research and dry laboratory spaces.