Virginia Commonwealth University wanted to create a new School of Business and School of Engineering that would be integrated within a unified complex. The building would be designed to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration between the two schools and become a “gateway” into this part of the campus.
This academic building houses both the School of Business and ASSOCIATED FIRMPayette Associates; RMJM Hillier; Smith McClane ArchitectsCAPACITY5,669COST PER SQ FT$252.69FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio School of Engineering. The 129,379-square-foot School of Business includes classrooms, research laboratories, case-study rooms, lecture halls, multimedia teaching facilities, a trading room, cafe, faculty offices, administrative offices and related support space. The 114,655-square-foot School of Engineering, the second phase of the engineering complex, includes digital and information technology laboratories, with an emphasis on research labs. The facility is in the university’s new East Monroe Park Campus, which is surrounded by some of the city’s most prominent historical attractions. As such, the exterior of the facility needed to provide a contextually appropriate response in order to blend comfortably with the existing architectural fabric of the city.
A unique opportunity in this project was the idea that two schools would share the same roof. The university wanted this facility to foster collaboration between the two schools and enable engineering students to share innovative research advancements with business-minded entrepreneurs, much as they would in a real- world workplace.
Another challenge was designing a new collegiate building as a cohesive part of the historic Monroe Ward in Richmond. Victorian-style architecture was incorporated into the facility’s facade, contextually blending the new building with the historical fabric of the capital city.