While the school’s fascinating history is at the core of its identity, the University of Virginia remains one of America’s top public universities today by having a clear forward vision. And it was with an eye on the future that the planning for Rice Hall began in 2008. Its amenities are cutting edge but its architecture forms a bridge between the campus’ historic structures and the building’s modern mission. The six-story building was designed by Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson and built by W.M. Jordan Company. Its exterior is a combination of brick and glass adorned with ALPOLIC aluminum composite material from Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America.
As stated by the university, Rice Hall serves collaborative researchers as the nexus of information technology engineering at the University of Virginia. It facilitates research and learning in areas that include high-performance computing, computer visualization, computer security, energy conservation, wireless communications, telemedicine, virtual reality, distributed multimedia and distance learning. The building also is the new home to the computer science department and the computer engineering program.
“Our goal is to make this building a showcase for the impact that information technology engineering is having on the world,” said Dean James H. Aylor at the building’s dedication ceremony.
Some 250,000 feet of IT cable and 650,000 feet of wire for power and lighting were used in the construction, as well as 186,531 bricks, 793 tons of structural steel, 110,000 pounds of ductwork and 40,000 feet of piping. The building includes a 150-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium, a boardroom equipped with a 103-inch plasma monitor, flexible teaching and research labs, workgroup and study areas for students, a cyber café, conference rooms, and machine rooms next to research labs and offices. Wireless-enabled collaboration software is installed for use with displays throughout the building, including open collaboration spaces, instructional labs and meeting rooms.
Featuring advanced heating, cooling, lighting and energy-recovery systems linked to sophisticated controllers, Rice Hall will serve as a ‘living lab’ where students and faculty can undertake smart building research and measure and improve innovative operating systems. Energy Dashboards will provide information on energy consumption for the building and various buildings across Grounds. This data will be available to researchers and visitors on kiosks and monitors in the building and online.
Rice Hall also received LEED Silver certification and is highly recognized for its sustainable design and construction. To further compliment Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's commended design, fabricators at W.H. Stovall & Company, Inc. recommended the use of ALPOLIC ACM panels for the elliptical shaped columns at the front entrance, on the cornice and soffit panels around the perimeter, and throughout the interior stairwells of the building.