Marquette faculty. “It was enjoyable. All the partners challenged each other. The result was a building that clearly reflects the original vision.” Engineering Hall is a study in materials, from the cool gloss of stained and polished concrete to the warm accents of reclaimed wood. All is revealed. The truth about poured concrete in a steel-framed building is it cracks. In most buildings, these inevitable cracks are hidden. Not here. There are no floor coverings or drop ceilings. The fireproofing is exposed. The climate control system is labeled. Structural supports are revealed. The building itself is a teaching tool — more engineering on display. A four-story central stairway seems to draw in and distribute natural light to every corner. It feels airy and open. There is comfortable furniture everywhere — tables, chairs and sofas — most not more than a power cord away from an AC outlet. The hallways have a coffee shop look and feel. “Where do ideas come from?” asks Bishop. “They often come from intellectual collisions.” Engineers who study fluids, whether civil, mechanical or biomedical, could have a lot to share, but they might never meet. Those happy collisions are encouraged by physical spaces designed into Engineering Hall. In nearly every corner there are “nodes,” areas that naturally encourage meeting and collaboration. On the walls are big flat-screen displays where students can work together on projects and presentations. Many walls are also whiteboards inviting the capture of fleeting thoughts.
Engineering Hall is a study in materials, from the cool gloss of stained and polished concrete to the warm accents of reclaimed wood. All is revealed ... The building itself is a teaching tool – more engineering on display. “Space at any university is more precious than gold,” says Dave Newman, manager of the building’s Engineering Materials and Structures Testing Laboratory. Looking down on this huge new space, he adds, “You could put five of my old labs in here.” At the east end of the lab is a monstrous strong wall. “We can push with 175,000 pounds at the top,” he says, tossing out the big numbers with pride. “We can pull with 350,000 pounds per insert on the floor. Between those two, we can fixture structures and apply incredible force. We never had even close to that ability in the past.” That keeps important structural testing and lab work on campus within reach of professors and even undergrads. “That door is designed to get a 75-foot beam in here,” Newman offers. “You can bring a tractor-trailer in, and I can pick off the beam with my crane.” With 10 tons of steel dangling above, Newman can even measure deflection with strain gauges permanently wired into the crane rail. “This whole building is an instrument.”
Passers-by on Wisconsin Avenue can look in on the laboratories where students are encouraged to transform ideas from CAD screen to real thing. Discovery learning is a hands-on process, so there’s a well-equipped tool crib and machine shop where even undergrads (with the proper training) can get oil beneath their fingernails. Unlike the cramped confines of Haggerty and Olin, there’s plenty of storage for works in progress.
“This is the most wired building on campus,” says Dr. Mark Federle, McShane Chair of Construction Engineering and Management, pointing to the glass-walled Innovation Lab, “and this is the most technologically advanced classroom.“ There are monitors all around. We can stream video anywhere, post it on YouTube if we’d like.”
Tom Silman, mechanical services supervisor, works with students in the Jaskolski Discovery Learning Laboratory (above), named by Drs. Robert and Patricia Kern to honor Dean Emeritus Dr. Stan Jaskolski, who retired in 2010. At left, the main lobby is just steps from the corner of 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
November 2011 // 6