EYP, a leading architecture and engineering firm creating memorable designs that enhance people's lives and communities, today announced that George Mason University officially broke ground on its 133,000 square-foot, four-story Life Sciences and Engineering Building designed by the firm. The new building will become part of the university’s SciTech Campus in Manassas, in Prince William County, Virginia.
The project addresses Mason’s need for highly specialized instructional labs, classrooms, and support services for its graduate-level curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, and health. The building was designed using biophilic and wellness design principles and includes elements like solar shades to support its track toward LEED Silver certification. Mason is the largest public research university in Virginia.
"EYP has been an excellent partner in helping us manage changes to the project to address the evolving needs of our students, faculty, and staff," stated Carol Dillon Kissal, senior vice president for administration and finance at Mason. "We're confident that the new Life Sciences and Engineering building will provide access to innovative spaces --including instruments, robotics, wind tunnel labs, and classrooms -- in a collaborative, adaptive, and efficient environment that will provide value for decades to come."
"It has been exciting to see the evolution of this project, especially how the design opportunity has evolved into creating a strong sense of identity for the campus and its connections to the greater community. With a change in initial plans due to the Campus Master Plan development, Mason challenged us to re-think how the building adapted to the site and the growing graduate student population," stated Sean Lyons, senior project director, EYP. "Working with the Mason team, we've incorporated technology to foster innovative teaching and accommodate virtual learning. In each design element, we've taken a forward-looking approach. We're quite excited that Mason has broken ground on this important project."
A fourth floor was added to maximize Mason’s investment and coordinate with the Master Plan. The orientation of the original plan was rotated 90 degrees to create an urban streetscape, which has the added benefit of better stormwater management. The interior design will incorporate a palette that suggests canyon and nature to further enhance the connection to the outdoors, while the extensive use of glass engages the exterior landscaping. While the building leans modern, it also includes the red brick used throughout the campus to ensure a cohesive look.
"From the onset, we understood Mason’s vision, having worked with the university since 2014," stated Melissa Burns, principal, academic planner, EYP. "We created a very flexible plan with lab blocks to accommodate large instructional spaces for a wide variety of programs. We started with typologies in the programming phase and focused on how spaces could be shared among schools. As a result, the building will be a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment for students to succeed."
The building will welcome students, faculty, and staff in time for the fall 2024 semester.