NC State University has broken ground on Fitts-Woolard Hall, a new $150 million engineering building on Centennial Campus. In the past 10 years, engineering undergraduate enrollment at NC State has grown by 22 percent, and graduate enrollment has more than doubled. Designed by Clark Nexsen, the new 250,000 square-foot facility will provide an innovative facility to help accommodate that growth and further position the University as an international leader in engineering education.
The design is driven by a commitment to “engineering on display.” The main entry will be flanked by a structural testing lab, senior student project space, and large scale driving simulator, all which will be visible on the exterior and interior of the building. The transparency into these spaces will offers drivers, pedestrians, and building users a glimpse into the research occurring within. Additional laboratory spaces include advanced manufacturing, ergonomics, traffic simulation, bioengineering and environmental.
Throughout the four-story facility, collaboration and interaction will be supported through high degrees of transparency. Stairs at each end of the building will act as connecting threads between floors and reveal the building’s structural and mechanical systems as an additional instructional tool. The design will promote socialization and interaction between students through gathering spaces including an outdoor terrace, interspersed seating and an open, collaborative space on the second floor known as “the hearth.”
The third and fourth floors will be contained in a floating volume, supported by expressive gestural columns that are reminiscent of the structural and civil disciplines. These floors are slated to house faculty offices, graduate student space, and additional classrooms and research labs.
“Fitts-Woolard Hall will be a state-of-the-art facility that truly supports our vision of collaborative, interdisciplinary instruction, research and innovation,” states NC State University Chancellor, Randy Woodson. “This project is vital to the future of the College of Engineering.”
With more than 100 classrooms and laboratories, Fitts-Woolard Hall will house the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering and the Fitts Department of Industrial and System Engineering. Skanska is the general contractor.