The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, Engineering Education and Research Center

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The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, Engineering Education and Research Center

Integrating undergraduate education, interdisciplinary graduate research and two distinct engineering departments, the new building activates the edge of campus and creates a true hub and identity for the Engineering precinct that meets the strategic and programmatic needs of the Cockrell School of Engineering.

The breadth of Engineering education has seen a massive explosion of diversity and increasing potential for real life applications. The EERC is designed to not only meet these and future challenges through architecture but to do so with the recognition that both students and faculty are part of one communal collaborative effort to find future solutions to emerging engineering inquiries. It is truly an engineering village.

Todd Schliemann, Design Partner
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Creating a strong sense of place for the Cockrell School, the EERC defines a new paradigm for engineering education and research through the integration of undergraduate project-based learning, interdisciplinary graduate research, a Center for Innovation focused on entrepreneurship, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, and the Mulva Auditorium and Conference Center.

“From floor to ceiling, the EERC was designed to do more than simply facilitate classes, research and meetings. We envisioned a facility that would inspire creativity and motivate students to think bigger.”

Sharon L. Wood, Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering
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The program is organized efficiently into two limestone and glass towers, acknowledging the substantially different requirements for labs, offices and work spaces of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department and interdisciplinary research. The two towers are connected by an enclosed public atrium, which is the central focus and provides an enclosed path between distinct parts of campus.

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The glass-roofed, three-story atrium softens the scale of the nine-story towers, where inwardly-oriented glass curtain wall facades provide a vital visual link between the major user groups and bind the project together as a cohesive statement about engineering education and research. As a vibrant, light-filled space lined with an array of space types, the atrium creates a sense of community and identity for the Cockrell School while hosting many functions, such as casual study and interaction, organized student gatherings, visual display, open houses, or fundraising events.

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Prominently visible through floor-to-ceiling glass along the north wall of the atrium is a paradigm-shifting undergraduate teaching space called The National Instruments Student Project Center. This 23,000 SF suite of space is dedicated to state-of-the-art, project-based interdisciplinary learning.

Within the EERC, a Center for Innovation – the center for a new ecosystem of faculty and student entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs-in-residence, venture capitalists and industry leaders – facilitates moving revolutionary ideas and technology to market at a faster rate.

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Part teaching lab, part makerspace, part core labs, The National Instruments Student Project Center is intended to place the most advanced tools and methods in engineering research into the hands of undergraduates as early as possible. The honest expression of raw concrete, fully exposed ductwork and piping, and glass walls from room to room serves to put engineering on display to all who pass through the building. The Student Project Center is a new and groundbreaking aspect of the Cockrell School’s curriculum and will shape the careers of future engineers.

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Austin, TX
433,000 GSF
Interdisciplinary Research Laboratories, Teaching Laboratories, Auditorium, Classrooms, Meeting Facilities, Central Atrium, Centralized Student Services
LEED Silver


Ennead Design Team
Todd Schliemann, Kevin McClurkan, Alex O'Briant, Emily Kirkland, Megan Miller, Charmian Place, Gary Anderson, Darla Elsbernd, Zach Olczak, James Rhee, Jena Rimkus, Shawn Whitehorn
Architect of Record
Jacobs Consultancy
Photography / Videography
Jeff Goldberg/Esto, Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Proxcinema