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Birmingham, Alabama

UAB College of Arts and Sciences University Hall

109,110 square feet

University Hall, UAB’s premiere College of Arts and Sciences building, is a state-of-the-art facility that prides itself as the new face to the heart of campus and a first step toward sustainable design. The building 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.

Throughout the course of design, the exterior was conceived of as being respectively cognizant of the character of campus while introducing several bold gestures that evoke openness and transparency within the college. 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. Several of the prominent elements include: a bioswale – which collects rainwater from around the site and an outdoor classroom – which provides opportunities for gathering.

The landscape not only promotes an environmentally conscious approach to design, but also an instills an awareness of the natural environment. A forward-thinking approach was not only taken for the design of the exterior, but also for the composition of the interior. With a grand lobby that encourages interdisciplinary interaction, visitors can enjoy the views of campus while also fostering relationships.

Showcased through a series of perforated metal panels, the flames embody everything it means to be part of the UAB family. One of the most prominent spaces within the building is the grand stair. Spanning three levels and overlooking the campus green, the grand stair not only cultivates student-teacher interaction, but also enriches the quality of the interior atrium. With an abundance of natural daylight, dramatic views, and ample moments for collaboration, the grand stair intentionally functions as the beating heart of the building.