University of Alabama at Birmingham University Hall, Arts and Sciences
Status: Completed 2019
Project Awards: USGBC LEED Silver
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) College of Arts and Sciences previously operated 19 departments and occupied space in 14 separate buildings across the UAB Campus. As a means to accommodate all of the College’s programs into one building, the new five-story College of Arts & Sciences building, University Hall, includes classrooms, teaching labs, a large lecture hall, faculty offices and indoor and outdoor collaboration spaces. The departmental offices are arranged to allow for departmental growth to ebb and flow without needing renovations. Each departmental reception area has a special self-selected artistic wall-covering representing their subject matter. The classroom lighting is programmed to harvest daylight – it will shut off the row closest to the windows if it senses there is enough daylight provided to save energy. Accessibility was also a priority in the building design: Due to the great elevation changes at this site, the building has ground entrances on two levels. There is also a ramp that allows access from the campus green elevation to the second floor lobby entrance to provide multiple choices of paths. Despite the building’s subtle arrangement, the relationship of the exterior of the building to the campus green is one that is visually striking and collectively inviting. University Hall is nestled in the southwest corner of the campus green in a way that is sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood yet showcases some of the best views on campus, with Sterne Library and Education Building to the west, Blount Hall to the south, and the Chemistry Building to the north. University Hall surpassed its original sustainability goal of being LEED Certified and was awarded LEED Silver for New Construction with innovative features that integrate the building and the site including the first bioswale landscaping on camps.
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