Miami University - Psychology Building
The 108,000-square-foot, three-story plus lower-level facility boasts a brick and glass exterior with sloped roofs. Designed to complement the existing structures on the campus, the owner sought an open feel and natural light within the building, which resulted in a design solution that included an atrium and stepped, floating floors.
Previously housed within a facility that was somewhat traditional in terms of planning, the university hoped to create an experience that encouraged interaction between students and faculty, as well as provided orientation within the facility and a view of the campus from major public spaces. Although the accessible conference rooms and laboratories were semi-private, they were naturally lit and still visible to the entire department.
Structural steel was the favored framing system because of the engineering considerations, specifically the extensive spans necessary to hang floors in the atrium. The suspended floors not only provide additional space – such as a graduate research room that is hung from the third floor – but they also add architectural interest.
Although the structure was designed with a conventional-braced frame, the steel plate shear wall was necessary because the diagonal bracing would have interfered with the layout of the laboratory on the basement level. SMBH opted to use the steel plate shear wall to allow for accessible space on each side of the frame.