Carnegie Mellon University, ANSYS Hall
A hive for teaching, prototyping, and implementation, ANSYS Hall is a 36,000-square-foot mixed-use building designed for Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering in collaboration with the engineering software company ANSYS, Inc. The LEED Gold-certified building serves as a connective framework—acting as a physical bridge between the surrounding buildings while bringing together multiple academic departments, ANSYS Inc., and extracurricular groups. The design centers innovation, with an open, daylit, flexible high bay, laboratories, and collaboration areas, that open onto an outdoor maker court.
Centrally-located and highly visible, this campus hub for making employs ample use of glass, providing layers of transparency and visual connection to foster interdisciplinary exchange. Wherever you are within the building, you can enjoy views of bustling activity occurring in other spaces. When walking across the elevated outdoor bridge, campus visitors catch glimpses of undergraduates assembling full-scale prototypes in the high bay below. In turn, students working in the high bay enjoy views to the ANSYS Simulation Room where colleagues experiment with the ANSYS software—simulating interactions for physics, structures, vibration, fluid dynamics, heat transfer, and electromagnetics. During the project planning, we worked with the university and corporate stakeholders to navigate considerations for intellectual property ownership carefully. The facility allows ANSYS, Inc., and students to collaborate openly and freely while providing ANSYS, Inc. with a secure office suite. Ensuring a long-term academic-corporate partnership, ANSYS Hall creates an environment where students learn and test cutting-edge simulation software, provide direct feedback to the manufacturer, and create a pipeline for future industry employment and leadership.
ANSYS Hall marks a new gateway at the southwest corner of CMU’s campus, a strikingly contemporary response integrated within the historic Hornbostel-designed campus. It is the final link to the College of Engineering “Maker Ecosystem” that includes nano-, micro-, and macro- fabrication, bringing together undergraduate and graduate students from multiple disciplines in a hands-on environment that encourages and displays the cross-pollination of ideas and innovation. The iconic design responds to the underlying principles of the existing architecture and campus context while offering a high-performing, adaptable space with an eye towards the future. It is part design studio, laboratory, applied research and development laboratory, classroom, workplace, and collaboration hub. The adaptable high-bay space puts student work on display and can accommodate various modes of working, learning, and making, situated with an overall building design that provides a dynamic, healthy environment for people to work and learn.