Building Features Highlighted In Rehabilitation At Georgia Tech

May 4, 2011

The Hinman Building, the first freestanding research facility on the Georgia Tech campus, is characterized by its mid-20th-century design and materials, as well as a 50-foot high-bay laboratory. The newly rehabilitated building now includes graduate level architecture studios, computer labs, interdisciplinary research labs, high-fidelity simulation and planning labs, administrative offices, galleries and space for large-scale events.

The 35,000-square-foot building was recently preserved and revitalized in a collaboration between Lord, Aeck & Sargent’s Historic Preservation Studio and Office dA as the architects, and The Beck Group as construction manager. The revitalization project is seeking LEED Gold certification from the USGBC.

The project focused on the adaptive reuse of existing building components. For example, the window and door pattern and profile of the building is one of its defining characteristics, and removal of the original steel frames would have destroyed the historic appearance of the building and led to significant damage to the surrounding masonry in which they were embedded. So, the original frames were retained and restored in place. 

The roofs on the building’s high bay and the lower level additions were replaced to improve energy performance without impacting the building’s historical character. On the high bay roof deck, 4 inches of insulation was added, and acoustical insulation was sprayed onto the exposed underside of the deck. The low roof was stripped to its concrete deck and tapered insulation averaging 4 inches in thickness was placed on the slab.

Because Georgia Tech has a central plant for steam and chilled water, a new mechanical system wasn’t necessary. Space conditioning is primarily provided through the installation of four pipe fan coil units. These require less ductwork and were integrated into the building without disturbing the building’s historic character. Outdoor air is supplied by a dedicated outdoor air system, which preconditions incoming air and incorporates single wheel energy recovery. Because of the outdoor air system, less conditioning of air is required by the fan coil units.

The project was one of only six honored earlier this year by receiving an Architect magazine Progressive Architecture citation.

Other interesting features of the interior rehabilitation include:

  • The high-bay space features a historic crane from which a dramatic new mezzanine is hung, re-purposing the crane and expanding the usable space in the building by 3,000 square feet. A new monumental stair connects the mezzanine and the floor of the high bay.
  • A new spiral staircase enclosed in expanded cable mesh provides access to faculty offices in the building’s upper floor, also providing access to the building’s southern wing.
  • A matrix of retractable pendant lights allows the high bay area to adapt for film screenings, large-scale model building and other activities.
  • A 40-foot-wide guillotine door, suspended from above, provides added pinup space for reviews and exhibitions when closed, and when raised reveals a large formal critique space that can double as a gallery.

Photos copywrited by Jonathan Hillyer, Atlanta.



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.