Ohio University Academic & Research Center
In 2007, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio began construction on a unique facility known as the Academic & Research Center (ARC). This 150,000-square-foot building is shared between the College of Engineering and the College of Osteopathic Medicine and is designed to bolster collaboration and understanding between the two disciplines. There are state-of-the-art research laboratories for engineers, technologists, researchers, and clinicians well as classrooms called studios, workspaces called hangars, corridors called pathways, and a variety of collaborative spaces – group project, graduate student, student organization, and conference spaces.
A wide-open three-story space in the center of the building is topped with a massive 1,500-square-foot skylight allowing for a flood of natural light. The ARC also features a unique two-story hanger where students construct various competition entries such as the steel bridge and concrete canoe. The structural steel frame and bracing are left exposed in strategic locations to showcase engineering at work.
SMBH encountered several challenges during the course of the project. As the ARC is located in the Hocking River flood plain, the design included resting the building on drilled pier foundations and provided for special flood resistive spaces designed to house the critical building systems. Also, the penthouse mechanical room was located above critical laboratory spaces and the effect of vibration needed to be considered early in the design of these areas.