On Friday, November 13, 2015 Morgan State University held their Grand Opening for the Business Management Complex. Hope Furrer Associates (HFA) is proud to have worked on this beautiful building with architects Ayers Saint Gross and Kohn Pederson Fox. The structural design on this project is truly unique! Due to the triangular footprint and open atrium area, there are several distinct structural systems for this project. The project is approximately 131,000 square feet with a construction cost of approximately $53 million.
The grade slopes with entrances on both the first and second levels. This required concrete retaining walls for a large portion of the footprint. The project is founded on drilled piers (caissons).
The building consists of two distinct bars, one is 5 stories and the higher bar is 8 stories. The 5 story bar consists of classrooms and an auditorium. These spaces require clear spans of 44’ which were framed using post-tensioned concrete beams and a one-way post-tensioned concrete slab system.
The higher bar includes smaller classrooms, faculty offices and hotel rooms used to teach the hospitality students about operating hotels. With bays approximately 30’ square, this bar was designed using two-way post-tensioned concrete slab with drop capitals.
These two concrete bars create two sides of the triangular building footprint. The third side was framed using composite steel framing creating walkways between the two bars. The center of the building is a large open atrium space. This space is column-free and provides an open area where students can gather. Features of the atrium include a slab on grade living stair with many places to sit and meet, as well as a steel framed grand stair that has a beautiful sculptural appearance. At the third floor there is a trading lab that appears to hover above the atrium space; this is floor actually hung from the fourth floor. There are two long span full height custom steel trusses that span the atrium (approximately 100’ long). These trusses support the third floor trading lab, the fourth floor and the atrium green roof. Portions of these trusses can be seen within the library space.
The green roof is accessible and consists of pavers and plantings, as well as three truly unique conical skylights, giving them a sculptural appearance. Since the green roof is accessible, the green roof structure is recessed so that when the pavers were added there was a small step down onto the green roof. This required some of the framing that was set low to be built back up to maintain the desired finish floor elevations.
The mechanical equipment, which includes a large cooling tower and custom air handler units that comprise most of the available roof square footage, is housed on the highest level of the 8 story bar. This equipment is screened using galvanized steel frames which include a removable panel for future maintenance.
The lateral force resisting system consists of cast in place concrete shear walls around the stair and elevator core, as well as around some gathering spaces.
This is the first building west of Hillen Road for the Morgan State University campus. HFA also designed a new steel framed pedestrian bridge that connects to the Business Management Complex, crosses Hillen Road and then continues towards the eastern campus. The bridge is currently in construction.
HFA was delighted to have been a part of such a unique and breathtaking building.