Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is situated in the Bradshaw Mountain Range at an elevation of 5,350 ft. The Engineering Lab is centrally located within the campus and provides laboratory and teaching space for ERAU’s engineering programs.
One programming objective was to create a recruiting tool for ERAU’s highly acclaimed aeronautical engineering programs. The building needed high visibility, both from an exterior presence on the campus as well as internally. This presence had to convey the importance of the engineering programs and impress upon visitors the nature of the unique activities taking place in the building.
Distinguishing features include exposed curved steel trusses and metal roofing, exposed integral colored concrete masonry, colored concrete floors and an angled concrete wall which bisects the building to unify the spaces and celebrate the main entries. Internal windows from corridors to all lab areas provide visitors/recruits exposure to the unique engineering curriculum taking place in the labs, essentially selling the program with the program.
Durable materials are utilized throughout for easy maintainability and maintenance. Energy efficient design features include: foamed masonry cells, R-30 roof deck insulation, thermal break windows, low-e glazing, low flow toilet fixtures, an air economizer, high efficiency light fixtures and occupancy sensors.
In anticipation of future program changes, differing experiments, and equipment upgrades, spaces were designed to be flexible with easily relocatable electrical, plumbing, mechanical and IT systems exposed throughout the labs and main areas. As a result, the building provides a visual lab for exploring the building systems as well as the complex equipment within each lab.
Finally, the overall design conveys the Engineering Building’s unique identity while maintaining visual connection to the existing campus fabric.