BBS Architects Engineers

University of Northern Iowa

Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold
Sabin Hall Renovation – LEED Gold

Project Data: 55,700 SF
Construction Cost: $9,119,372
Construction Completed: December 2010

Sabin Hall, constructed in 1912, is a major classroom facility that houses the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS) office of the Dean and offices for multiple University departments. The building is in the center of a series of three designed by our predecessor firm.

A light well admitted daylight and fresh air into the building. It also reduced the necessity for electric lighting—until the advent of new mechanical systems and increased need for space resulted in the infill of all but the top level in the 1960s. The discovery of the daylighting feature of the original design was the genesis for many of the design decisions that followed. In addition to symbolism associated with light and education, the reintroduction of a light shaft/court provided functional opportunities to improve daylighting, access, and wayfinding in the building's overall organization.

Design objectives included placing new ground level entrances at high traffic locations, locating teaching spaces on Ground and First Levels to facilitate student access and circulation, resizing classrooms to meet current and anticipated class sizes, and achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Corridor systems are maintained in their historic locations to retain load bearing walls and to reuse air distribution shafts within the walls. Where possible, existing materials are salvaged, reused or recycled. Conversion of site paving to planting areas reduces storm water discharge and improves campus aesthetics. Large windows on all sides of the building maximize daylighting and reduce dependence on electric lighting. Related design strategies include zoned light switching and occupancy sensors. New electrical and mechanical systems have been designed to exceed building and energy codes. A dedicated ventilation system in addition to exceeding code requirements, improves indoor air quality.

As the design development of the light court was underway, the idea of “integrated art” or art as a part of the building's design became evident in the layout of the light court. The design team advocated for a terrazzo art piece on the floor of the light court that would be project specific with a special focus on issues of light and sustainability. Artist Lynn Basa was commissioned by the University.

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