University of Pittsburgh / Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation


Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Size: 22,000 SF Addition

Pittsburgh Chapter AIA Award Winner 2011

Computer labs, conference spaces and administrative space, laboratories for cross disciplinary research

The University expanded and renovated Benedum Hall, the circa 1968 home for the Swanson School of Engineering. The original tower and separate auditorium buildings had become obsolete as the school’s focus shifted to the 21st century collaborative disciplines of nanotechnology, bioengineering and materials research. The University desired a more flexible facility that was conducive to inter-departmental collaboration, and that could help attract the best and brightest research faculty and students.

The project had two segments: an addition to house the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, and a full renovation in phases of the existing buildings. Both the addition and renovations were completed while the building remained fully occupied and functional. The addition forms a raised link on the site’s north side. A poured-in-place concrete structure carefully threads its way through the existing basement and subbasement lab spaces, and is expressed by the sloped piers supporting the building over O’Hara Street. The metal panel and mullionless curtain wall-clad addition contains computer labs, conference spaces and administrative spaces, and will itself act as a laboratory for cross disciplinary research. It also contains a new four story open stair hall, linking the three buildings of the ensemble, and forming a new entry down to the original building’s basement which has been opened up to house a new Teaching / Learning Center. 

In collaboration with NBBJ.