Marvin North

The new school of architecture for my university uses the existing 60,000 square foot, four-story, limestone and heavy timber structure as well as a 75,000 square foot, mass timber addition across the street. With the addition facing the original school, built in the 1900s, the two buildings create a gateway to the boulevard of the university’s main campus. I chose to complete my mass timber design while keeping the original structure intact for two reasons- first, the limestone structure is nostalgic to the alumni and current students of the school, and second, because “the greenest building is the one already built,” (Carl Elefante).

To the north of the new structure is a tree covered, sloped hill, ending in a lake. The studios will look out over this beautiful scenery and allow the student’s working to feel as if they are a part of this outdoor environment. The new school features a 28,000 square foot design-build warehouse where students and teachers can work on large scale projects. All of the design-build work is featured on the main campus level, with the campus boulevard and sidewalk right outside the south curtain wall. Passersby can walk past and easily peer in to see what projects are being constructed, or they can walk around the “gallery”- a cantilevered path surrounding the design-build footprint to allow for 360 views of this inspiring space.

My design for the new construction utilizes a mass timber structure with post-and-beam construction, and Eastern White Pine for its wood species. Glulam columns, beams, and trusses create the frame, with a CLT floor system completing the slab for each level. The new construction will serve as a learning tool for the school by keeping most of the structural connections exposed. Eastern White Pine, a highly renewable species, is used in my design not only because of its small footprint but also due to the visible knots and straight grain patterns that celebrate the growth of this natural resource. The species was also chosen for its large spans up to twenty feet, and the high strength compared to its weight. The new school will inspire students and teachers working with wood and other materials in its shops and studios by maintaining high visibility throughout the structure to the beauty and strength of mass timber.