Was designed by Ross Barney Architects, James I Swenson Civil Engineering Building, that located in The University of Minnesota Duluth has instituted a new building for its Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (BSCE). The new building provides approximately 35,300 sq ft to house classrooms, instructional and research laboratories, and office space for the Civil Engineering Department. The new building builds on and reinforces the existing circulation patterns that are part of the UMD campus.
Using exterior materials that are consistent with existing campus buildings and utilising locally sourced materials from excavation and mining in the area, the building maintains a connection to the campus and to the regional economy. Two roof scuppers are clad in regional, reclaimed wood from dismantled pickle barrels whilst the main entry walk is a study in the manufacture of steel – burnished steel plates line the sidewalk, taconite pellets are adjacent and provide tactile reference to steelmaking and a perforated Corten steel rain screen shields the entry.
The building as a teaching tool is central to the design, for example the south wall of the lab retains the tilt up braces and kickers used to support the panels during construction. A glass wall separating the main lab from the entry and circulation path provides an opportunity to witness experiments in progress. A natural Corten steel wall separates the entry stair from the exterior and retains its original appearance while the same Corten on the exterior was left to weather to its desired patina.