Goodwin Hall is the new flagship building for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. The 159,500-sq-ft building provides highly specialized teaching and research laboratories to support hands-on problem solving and active learning.

The building itself is used for research. It has more than 240 accelerometers attached to 136 sensor mounts embedded into the structure to collect, monitor and study occupant movement as well as structural and vibration mechanics.

Strategies to improve energy efficiency—heat recovery, recycled air in public spaces and stormwater management systems—aim to help the building achieve LEED-Gold certification.

The building’s design fits within the collegiate Gothic campus yet establishes a new gateway there. The exterior features Hokie Stone, a limestone from a local quarry. It is used extensively on campus and varies widely in color and size. The design team had to work diligently with the construction team to establish a pattern and mock-up suitable to use as a reference during construction.

Goodwin Hall was the first building on the Virginia Tech campus to use a 4-in. nominal facade stone veneer. It was selected for cost savings compared with the 6-in. veneer used on earlier campus buildings.

Efflorescence—crystalline deposits found on masonry surfaces—in Hokie Stone walls across the campus has been a major issue in recent years and was of great concern during the construction of Goodwin Hall. Initial results show that the team’s custom mortar mix, along with the strategic placement, detailing and construction of a flashing system, has proved to be an effective measure to avoid efflorescence on the facade.

The facility is divided into two wings: a four-story wing for chemical engineering and a five-story wing for mechanical engineering. The wings share public spaces and a central atrium. The central atrium features overhead displays, including a Rolls-Royce jet engine and a suspended “capsule” that houses meeting rooms.

Other features include: instructional and research laboratories; classrooms; faculty and departmental offices; administrative space for engineering education and student services; meeting rooms; casual study space; and a café.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Goodwin Hall

Blacksburg, Va.

Key Players
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Architect ZGF Architects
General Contractor/Construction Manager Gilbane
Structural Engineer Thornton Tomasetti
Civil Engineer Draper Aden Associates
MEP Engineer Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers
Laboratory Planning SST Planners
Landscape Rhodeside & Harwell