The existing Zachry Building was constructed in 1972 and comprised around 324,000 square feet. Responding to Texas’ increasing demand for engineers in many disciplines, a re-imagined, reconfigured and enlarged Zachry Engineering Education Complex (EEC) supports the departmental plan to enroll 25,000 students by 2025.
The Dean of Engineering intended to expand Texas A&M University (TAMU) engineering to include more women and minorities. Part of that goal was accomplished by transforming the Zachry Building from a looming fortress to a transparent, open and inviting collaborative hub.
One of the project’s first design challenges was, appropriately, an engineering feat: replace the precast concrete structural envelope with masonry and much more glass. The team devised a strategy to lower steel columns into the U-shaped cavities of the precast panels and attach support brackets at each floor. Once the floors were supported, the structural concrete panels were removed to make way for the school’s physical and cultural evolution.
Inside, the new Engineering Education Complex (EEC) transforms the way TAMU delivers undergraduate engineering education. Traditional large-format lecture halls have been replaced by several types of active-learning classrooms that support project-based learning, and hone the collaborative skills sought by relevant industries. Almost all labs and classrooms are transparent to the corridors, a design move intended to foster cross-disciplinary curiosity and collaboration: if students can see what others are working on, they might expand their own research.
To increase available lab hours with fewer labs, the Dean insisted all labs remain flexible and not be “owned” by any one professor. The entire building is open nearly 24/7 and serves as the engineering students’ home away from home.
In addition to classrooms and labs, the EEC includes a makerspace, design center, tutoring suite, offices for student organizations, the engineering honors college, conference rooms, an occupiable green roof, Starbucks, and a large atrium for TED-talk gatherings, meetings and showcasing student work.
TAMU president Michael Young emphasized the building’s significance,
The legacy of this building, the legacy of what you contributed will last for literally hundreds of years… The building will change how we’re able to teach and, in turn, the students who study in this building, who have the opportunity to be in this building, will change the world.
Mechanical Engineering student Cody Richter commented how the new facility will better help prepare him for a career,
It’s just a well-used space with lots of different potential. This is a unique experience to be around so many different types of technology and resources.
We are very proud to have been involved in this project, which was on the cutting edge of design, research, technology and pedagogy.
Daniel Kornberg principal
HarrisonKornberg collaborated with Treanor Architects in a fully integrated and coordinated effort throughout the design and construction process to create opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion.
Listen to the Zachry Engineering Education Complex dedication ceremony:
Take an inside look at the revolutionized facility: