James I. Swenson Civil Engineering Building

The new civil engineering building at the University of Minnesota Duluth—designed by Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects—uses locally sourced materials such as concrete and Cor-Ten steel. The protruding water scuppers are clad in wood reclaimed from old pickle barrels.

The building is intended to be used both as a learning tool for the students and as a recruitment tool for the program. As such, structural bracing is left exposed and large bifold doors expose the high-bay spaces, both for moving objects in and out and for showing off experiments to prospective students.

Rain scuppers channel stormwater into cisterns and a French drain system in the surrounding landscape.

A French drain system is in the surrounding landscape.

Fully glazed sections between the more solid concrete and Cor-Ten steel allow passersby to see the activity within.

A gantry crane is able to move through much of the building to allow objects to be moved from high bay to high bay for experiments and installations.

Intended to be used as a pedagogical tool inside as well as out, most building systems are left exposed, including the structure, the wood-clad rain scuppers that penetrate the building envelope, and gabion walls filled with local taconite stone.

First-Floor Plan

Second-Floor Plan

Stormwater Runoff Diagram

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