What starts here changes the world. The University of Texas at Austin motto is realized in the new Liberal Arts Building, a multifunctional academic building for the largest college on campus with an annual enrollment of over 15,000 students. This building serves as the fundamental backbone for the College of Liberal Arts, providing a unified identity and home for various Liberal Arts departments within an innovative and flexible modern learning environment.
Because the college’s departments had previously been located throughout campus, crossdisciplinary collaboration was nearly impossible. A new building was vital to the ongoing success and enhanced reputation of the college. However, construction funding was not available through customary channels, and the college made the difficult decision to self-fund the project through program cuts. Overland partnered with the college to deliver a project below budget in order to preserve programs and faculty positions. As a result, the design process demanded evaluating efficiencies and flexibility, as well as short- and long-term costs.
Delivered a semester ahead of schedule, the project was completed for nearly 15% under budget. The Liberal Arts Building redefines the standard of future building construction on the campus through sustainable design and maximized user benefit. It is conceived to have a 100+ year lifespan with administrative and faculty spaces designed to be retrofitted and reorganized as the college’s needs change over time. Perimeter bays are cantilevered to provide floor plan flexibility while reducing columns and piers. Glazed demountable partitions located throughout these areas transmit daylight to interior spaces and can also be reconfigured. Additionally, through an integrated approach to sustainable design, the project surpassed its initial goal of LEED Silver, instead achieving LEED Gold certification.