A New Era of Teaching and Research Begins at The George Washington University

February 03, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  The George Washington University's Science and Engineering Hall opened to students on January 12, doubling the available space for a mix of disciplines and unifying researchers that were previously spread across a dozen locations. Clark completed construction of the nearly 500,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which features specialized research spaces including a greenhouse, cleanroom, imaging suites, machine shops, aquatics suite, and a three-story high bay materials laboratory with a structural strong wall and strong floor.

At the height of construction, more than 600 workers were onsite, logging more than one million man-hours to deliver the facility on time. Throughout construction, crews had to work in a limited footprint, constrained by a nearby Metro tunnel, which was just 10 feet away at its closest point. With such limited space within an urban environment, the team jacked and bore a tunnel 40 feet below 23rd Street to transport utilities from neighboring Ross Hall to the new facility. This solution eliminated the need to construct a central utility plant for the new building.

Clark Concrete also served as part of the project team placing 45,000 cubic yards of concrete and 5,000 tons of reinforcing steel to form the building's structure and internal spaces. The Science and Engineering Hall's striking façade is comprised of heat-strengthened curtain wall and terra cotta clay panels imported from Germany.

The three-story high bay laboratory's strong wall is the only one in the country of its kind to not be constructed on grade. The four-and-a-half-foot thick wall sits above the garage and required an intricate reinforcing design including post-tensioning, number 11 rebar, and tie-down anchors. The exposed wall allows students to adhere items to the wall while conducting their research.

The completed facility encourages interdisciplinary partnerships and collaboration through "research neighborhoods" that place laboratories and office space for multiple disciplines next to each other around a central atrium and monumental staircase. Many research and teaching spaces for faculty and students are open and on display for observation. To enhance wayfinding, the building's various areas are color coded by location. Teaching and research labs are flexible and can adapt as the university's needs change over time.

Targeting LEED® Gold certification, the Science and Engineering Hall has abundant natural light that pours in through the heat-strengthened insulating glass. The natural light allows several areas of plant life inside the building. The south atria have two 25-foot ficus trees, the west atria have two 18-foot broadleaf lady palms, and the north atria and B1 level have lush green walls of climbing ivies.