First look: Clark Nexsen completes engineering building at NC State University
Fitts-Woolard Hall design focuses on transparency and engineering on display
By: Clark Nexsen
"Fitts-Woolard Hall is an engineering hub that provides critical infrastructure for catalyzing new innovations and developing tomorrow's workforce," comments NC State chancellor Randy Woodson.
The design emphasizes transparency and "engineering on display." Extensive use of glass allows daylight to penetrate into the four-story building. The transparency into these spaces offers glimpses of cutting-edge research and allows the school to showcase its ongoing work. Throughout the facility, structural elements and building systems are revealed as an additional instructional tool.
The south entry is flanked by a structural testing lab, senior student project space, and large-scale driving simulator visible to students and visitors from within and outside the building. These hands-on, investigative spaces enable civil and structural engineers to test theories, calculations, and materials.
With more than 100 classrooms and state-of-the-
Ranked among the top 25 U.S. engineering programs, NC State is a powerful driver of economic impact in North Carolina and beyond. In the past 10 years, engineering undergraduate enrollment at NC State has grown by 22 percent, and graduate enrollment has more than doubled. Fitts-Woolard Hall provides an innovative facility to help accommodate that growth and further position NC State University as an international leader in engineering education.
Fitts-Woolard Hall is the first public-private partnership by the university to fund the construction of an academic building. Half the cost came from public funds through a 2016 state bond referendum. The remaining half has come from private funds, including a $25 million joint gift from alumni Edward P. Fitts Jr. and Edgar S. Woolard Jr.
The new building is positioned to the north of the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, designed by Snøhetta and Clark Nexsen, and completed in 2013. Skanska was the construction manager at risk for both projects.
Due to the pandemic, the NC State Engineering Foundation is delaying in-person events centered around the building grand opening and is planning to host them during the spring 2021 semester.