The University’s commitment to applied learning and innovation in manufacturing is embodied in the Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH). The University of Notre Dame engaged BSA to create the EIH in an underutilized lab and library space in a building initially constructed nearly a century ago. With flexible spaces that can accommodate everything from massive production stations to delicate lab instruments, the Innovation Hub offers a combination of hands-on experimentation and classroom instruction.
This new space allows Notre Dame Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering students to go from creative whiteboard sessions to factory-floor observations within minutes. And to help Notre Dame leverage the facility as a tool for attracting students, faculty, donors, and sponsors, BSA’s design team provided visibility from outside the space, showcasing the activities and innovations happening in real-time.
Traditionally, a student or faculty member interested in teaching, learning, or participating in product design would have to visit various locations – a classroom building, a design studio, a
fabrication lab, a production facility, and maybe more – to move through the production process. Usually, that meant missing out on key activities and having little opportunity to participate in a meaningful way throughout each stage of the process. BSA changed that dynamic with its Innovation Hub design, creating a compact and efficient space that puts the concept-to-realization process in one 10,000-square-foot space. Combining everything from traditional classrooms to heavy manufacturing spaces, BSA produced a space that allows students and faculty to connect engineering knowledge with hands-on experiences in ways that will equip them to solve real-world problems. With quick access to the technology, people, and tools needed to drive innovation, exploration, and product commercialization, students and faculty members will not merely explore product development but participate in it.
As the design of the engineering system for the Innovation Hub progressed, BSA found itself with both advantages and challenges. Having worked in Cushing Fitzpatrick Engineering Hall in the last decade, BSA was familiar with the building’s utility infrastructure and the need to bring the building’s operations up to a higher standard. One way BSA made these improvements without exceeding the budget was to design a “new” HVAC system that incorporates parts of its previous system, including ductwork BSA designed a few years ago. The electrical system aimed for an industrial look and feel and planned for future needs, trying to anticipate production equipment that does not even exist yet. The space incorporates exposed, industrial-style infrastructure to increase ease of use and flexibility while minimizing visual distractions hanging from the ceiling. The result is a space that functions well today and is prepared to be efficient well into the future.
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Architecture, Engineering, Interior Design, Planning