Since its founding as Queen’s College in 1766, a lot has changed on the campus of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Now, visitors to the New Brunswick campus can experience the University’s emphasis on research and technology through the modern design of a new visitors’ center.
“The university was looking to create an image as a first impression, primarily for prospective students coming to campus,” says Derrick Overbay, AIA, LEED AP, senior associate with The Biber Partnership, Summit, N.J., who was the architect on the project. “This will be their first stop, and as such they were looking for a building that was more high-tech and really created a sense of what the university was about.”
As the university’s first design-build project, The Biber Partnership teamed up with contractor Michael Riesz & Co., Ford, N.J., to deliver the building within a year. The new 12,512-square-foot steel frame facility with metal stud walls and partitions utilizes metal on multiple levels to create the high-tech feel, aesthetically communicating the Rutgers brand as well as functionally serving the structure.
A red wall made from composite metal panels protrudes from the front of the building perpendicular to the entrance; a 6-foot-tall white “R” rests atop it. The red metal panels are contrasted with a 26-foot-tall stone wall backdrop made from calcium silicate panels in a custom red color resembling the red shale found in the area. A custom perforated stainless steel screen, comprising perforated steel plates mounted on a galvanized steel frame, shields the south-facing windows, thus decreasing the heat load on the building by reducing direct sunlight by 60 percent. The south screen is 36 by 24 feet and utilizes approximately 13,000 pounds of steel. On the building’s east side, 12 fins are mounted perpendicular to the window serving to eliminate mid-day sun from entering the building. The fins are 2 1/2 by 24 feet and are composed of 3,400 pounds of steel each, totaling 40,800 pounds of steel.
The building also utilizes aluminum composite panels and a box-rib metal siding and aluminum composite siding. All the metallic features come together to create the technical feel intended to complement the function of the large, public research university.
The design-build team consisted of The Biber Partnership as the architects on the project, and Michael Riesz & Co. as the general contractor. Lawrence, N.J.–based CSC Engineering Corp. engineered the sunscreen. J.G. Schmidt Steel Co. (973) 473-4822, Passaic, N.J., provided the steel. For more information, visit www.tbpaia.com.