SOURCE: SmithGroup


November 24, 2009 13:37 ET

SmithGroup-Designed Villanova University School of Law Opens

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - November 24, 2009) - SmithGroup, one of the nation's leading architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firms, and Villanova University, are proud to announce the opening of the new School of Law building. SmithGroup provided programming, site planning, architectural design, interior design, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering for the new $75 million building. Gilbane Building Company is the General Contractor.

Acting Dean Doris DelTosto Brogan stated, "This spectacular building represents the realization of a dream for Villanova. It will provide a magnificent home for the Law School for generations to come."

Tom Butcavage, AIA, LEED AP, leader of SmithGroup's Learning National Practice, says, "The new building has been transformational for the Villanova School of Law community. It offers a stimulating, professional setting and reflects the School's focus on an engaging student experience."

Located on a gently sloping, elevated site, the 170,000-square-foot School of Law serves as a beacon to the adjacent main campus while respecting the surrounding residential community by presenting a more conservative face to neighbors. The project includes a sheltered 1,000-car parking garage adjacent to the new School of Law and a commuter train station.

Inside, the building's layout encourages students to engage with one another and with faculty. Offices directly flank classrooms, which are configured for Socratic and seminar methodology. State-of-the-art audio-visual systems in classrooms are capable of recording lectures for future uses such as podcasting and distance learning. Both moot court and mock trial spaces are provided, as well as spaces for special colloquia and conferences.

A 45,000-square-foot law library is located on four levels and provides a wide variety of study and research spaces. These include formal and informal reading rooms, collaborative group study rooms, and a coffee bar adjacent to the library entry.

This project utilizes several sustainable design techniques in an effort to achieve U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. These include using regionally quarried stone and brick, utilizing the man-made wetland adjacent to the site to manage and treat storm water, and maximizing natural lighting and views to the campus in public areas and circulation corridors. The building's atrium faces south and is sheathed in ceramic fritted glass which serves as a sunscreen. Windows have low-e coatings keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer. Also, SmithGroup engineers designed highly efficient mechanical systems to pursue LEED energy modeling points.

Villanova University, a co-educational Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842. With a total enrollment that surpasses 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students, Villanova is the oldest and largest Catholic university in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

SmithGroup ranks as the 7th largest architecture and engineering firm in the U.S. (Building Design & Construction "Giants" survey, July 2009) and employs 800. The firm is composed of client industry-focused practices serving the higher education, workplace, healthcare, cultural, and science and technology markets. With 346 LEED accredited professionals and 42 LEED certified projects, SmithGroup is a national leader in sustainable, environmentally intelligent design.

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