New Construction

University of Arkansas Research Facility Reaches Construction Milestone

Construction on the Institute for Integrative & Innovative Research (I3R) on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., recently reached a significant milestone, according to university news. Workers completed steel framing and placed the first column of cross-laminated timber, a staple of the facility’s environmentally conscious design.

“These buildings are proof of concept in terms of time-efficiency, cost savings, and a safer construction site,” said Peter MacKieth, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, in a New York Times article about mass timber design and construction on university campuses. Cross-laminated timber is a pre-fabricated word panel made from dimensional plans of lumber that have been stacked, glued, and laminated in perpendicular layers. It has become more popular in construction thanks to its low environmental impact and ease of use.

According to the university website, the facility will measure in at 144,000 square feet and was designed to inspire collaboration, innovation, and integration. Its location on campus was deliberately chosen to encourage interaction among different disciplines. The facility will house state-of-the-art technology, lab space, research equipment, and collaborative spaces built to help the community at large workshop ideas.

“The university is doubling down on its commitment to excellence in research,” said Margaret Sova McCabe, interim vice chancellor for research and innovation. “In serving the entire university, I3R and this new, state-of-the-art facility will augment our collective research capabilities and strengthen Arkansas’ profile as a leader in research and innovation.”

The university partnered with Hufft and HGA Architects for the building’s design. Its form and façade echo the nearby forest landscape; its timber roof will allow daylight to filter into the main atrium, while the front and back porches will both connect the building to the environment while suggesting a sense of openness to the university community.

The facility is scheduled to open during the fall 2024 semester.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].