University of Texas at Austin – Engineering and Research Center

  • area / size 432,500 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • Location Austin, Texas, , United States
  • Ennead Architects and Jacobs have collaborated to design the Engineering and Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Integrating undergraduate education, interdisciplinary graduate research and two distinct engineering departments, the new building activates the edge of campus and creates a true hub and identity for the Engineering precinct that meets the strategic and programmatic needs of the Cockrell School of Engineering.

    Creating a strong sense of place for the Cockrell School, the EERC defines a new paradigm for engineering education and research through the integration of undergraduate project-based learning, interdisciplinary graduate research, a Center for Innovation focused on entrepreneurship, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, and the Mulva Auditorium and Conference Center.

    The program is organized efficiently into two limestone and glass towers, acknowledging the substantially different requirements for labs, offices and work spaces of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and interdisciplinary research. The two towers are connected by an enclosed public atrium, which is the central focus and provides an enclosed path between distinct parts of campus.

    The glass-roofed, three-story atrium softens the scale of the nine-story towers, where inwardly-oriented glass curtain wall facades provide a vital visual link between the major user groups and bind the project together as a cohesive statement about engineering education and research. As a vibrant, light-filled space lined with an array of space types, the atrium creates a sense of community and identity for the Cockrell School while hosting many functions, such as casual study and interaction, organized student gatherings, visual display, open houses, or fundraising events.

    Prominently visible through floor-to-ceiling glass along the north wall of the atrium is a paradigm-shifting undergraduate teaching space called The National Instruments Student Project Center. This 23,000 SF suite of space is dedicated to state-of-the-art, project-based interdisciplinary learning.

    Within the EERC, a Center for Innovation – the center for a new ecosystem of faculty and student entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs-in-residence, venture capitalists and industry leaders – facilitates moving revolutionary ideas and technology to market at a faster rate.

    Part teaching lab, part makerspace, part core labs, The National Instruments Student Project Center is intended to place the most advanced tools and methods in engineering research into the hands of undergraduates as early as possible. The honest expression of raw concrete, fully exposed ductwork and piping, and glass walls from room to room serves to put engineering on display to all who pass through the building. The Student Project Center is a new and groundbreaking aspect of the Cockrell School’s curriculum and will shape the careers of future engineers.

    ArchitectsEnnead Architects and Jacobs
    Ennead Design Team: Todd Schliemann, Kevin McClurkan, Alex O’Briant, Emily Kirkland, Megan Miller, Zach Olczak, Jena Rimkus, Gary Anderson, James Rhee, Shawn Whitehead, Darla Elsbernd
    Jacobs Design Team: Bryan Floth, Nathan Carruth, Ron Seder, David Gustaf, Rob Dilling, Chris Davis, Ken Houghton, Amanda Walker, Robert Mooney, Sina Ajayi, Jake McKinney, Chuck Nixon
    Photography: Aislinn Weidele and Jeff Goldberg