MCA Education – Colleges and Universities Winner – University of Arkansas Champions Hall

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) awarded the University of Arkansas Champions Hall in Fayetteville, Arkansas its 2016 Chairman’s Award in the Education – Colleges and Universities category.

Funded primarily by the university’s athletics department, Champions Hall is located on the southern edge of the university’s historic academic core.  The building fills a deficit in classrooms and laboratory environments, while serving as a hub and student destination that energizes the surrounding campus neighborhood.  The project sits between two prominent hilltops in an understated ‘Service Valley’ and is adjacent to a large parking garage and central utility plant. The use of metal allows the design to elegantly interweave the utilitarian language of the adjacent structures while complimenting the highly defined material palette of the nearby historical academic core.  With the majority of neighboring buildings being elevated, the roof becomes the building’s highly visible ‘fifth elevation’.  Here, economical standing seam metal roof panels fold down to become wall, creating identifiable and memorable entry portals at the building’s north end.

“This project is all about metal, even down to the horizontal joints that happen in the walls. It gives a texture at night with glimmers of light, and in the daytime it’s like a musical rhythm,” said judge Brent Schipper, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, ASK Studio, Des Moines, Iowa.

The aesthetic and functional versatility of the metal material was a major factor in its selection.  The wrapping elements of the building required a material that could be used on both horizontal and vertical surfaces while addressing issues of water infiltration. Metal’s durability and sustainability were other factors that made it a clear choice. The design team specified material that was regionally sourced and with a high-recycled content to help contribute towards LEED credits. 

In addition to the highly visible roof, the site’s location within the university campus further required access and entries from all sides of the building, eliminating the option of a back or service side.  Perforated metal wall panels were utilized to elegantly conceal intake and exhaust openings to mechanical rooms, seamlessly integrating them into the south and west facades and allowing these services to be located directly adjacent to building entries.

Project Recognition

Building Owner: University of Arkansas
MCA Member Manufacturer: McElroy Metal Inc.
MCA Member Coating Manufacturer: Valspar
MCA Member Coating Manufacturer: Arkema Inc.
MCA Member Accessories: DI Roof Seamers
MCA Member Coil Coating Manufacturer: Precoat Metals
Architect: SmithGroupJJR / Miller Boskus Lack
Contractor: Nabholz Construction
Metal Installer: Harness Roofing Inc.
Metal Fabricator: McElroy Metal Inc.

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