Project of the Year - Engineering Design

Replacing a 1950’s-era student union, Lawrence University wanted a central gathering space where the campus community could eat, study, congregate, seek entertainment or relax.

Photo: Carla Brue Of Image Studio
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The final design was a four-story, 107,000-sq-ft campus center, the largest building project in the university’s 162-year history.

The center features a 134-seat cinema, cafe, gift shop and convenience store, student post office and student dining. In 2007, construction began on the Warch Campus Center and successfully consolidated functions previously located in separate facilities across the campus.

The LEED-NC Gold certified facility that overlooks the scenic Fox River in Appleton, Wis., was built into a bluff, with two-levels above grade and three levels built into a hill, including a small mechanical/electrical basement.

Building Information Modeling was used on the project for client visualization and decision making during the design and preconstruction process.

Building systems were quickly analyzed for cost, feasibility and aesthetics. Building information modeling (BIM) was also a critical tool in the coordination and detailing efforts between the two architectural firms and the engineering firms.

BIM allowed the architects to quickly communicate their design intent to the engineers before final views and sections were created.

During construction the model was used for building and component layout, as well as overall views of areas being constructed.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis.
GC: The Boldt Co., Appleton, Wis.
Architect: Uihlein-Wilson Architects, Milwaukee
Engineer: GRAEF, Milwaukee