Visitor Center and University Bookstore Wins Architectural Award

Aug. 6, 2012

UT Dallas Visitors Center

The Visitor Center and University Bookstore has created a new iconic entrance to campus. The 35-foot tall, open-air glass and steel rotunda includes a giant fan to mitigate extremes in Texas weather. (Photo credit: Chad Davis)

The Visitor Center and University Bookstore, the gateway to UT Dallas for visitors, prospective students and alumni, has been selected for a 2012 Metal Architecture Design Award.

The award highlights creativity in the metal construction industry and the use of steel in innovative design. Photographs of the building were published in the July issue of Metal Architecture magazine.

Opened in June 2011, the 32,000-square-foot building houses the Visitor Center and University Bookstore, as well as a coffee shop, copy center and technology store.

The building’s striking design has energized the entrance to the campus, said Tom Lund, senior project manager in UT System’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC).

“The (center) is a small architectural jewel that welcomes visitors to UT Dallas. It is our front door to unique educational opportunities and is helping to redefine the University’s architectural vocabulary into alignment with the vision of a Tier One university,” Lund said.

“The (center) is a small architectural jewel that welcomes visitors to UT Dallas. It is our front door to unique educational opportunities and is helping to redefine the University’s architectural vocabulary into alignment with the vision of a Tier One university.”

Tom Lund,
senior project manager in UT System’s Office of Facilities Planning and Construction (OFPC)

Larry Speck, an architect at Page Southerland Page and lead designer for the building, believes the jury was most impressed with the “iconic rotunda” at the entryway. The 35-foot tall, open-air glass and steel rotunda includes a giant fan to mitigate extremes in Texas weather.

“The University requested a real landmark at this front door of the campus, and the rotunda lives up to that,” Speck said. “The exposed steel construction not only gives a clean, precise image, it also speaks to the analytical mind of UT Dallas students. In an engineering sense, you can see how all of the loads of the structure are explicitly resolved and elegantly detailed.”

The use of an exposed steel column-and-beam system in the open area allows for uninterrupted spans and greater visual impact.

Dr. Calvin Jamison, vice president for administration, said the building’s noteworthy design enhances the entire campus.

“The Visitor Center and University Bookstore provides a great first impression of UT Dallas for those visiting campus. It’s gratifying to receive recognition for a very functional and flexible building,” Jamison said.

“This award, in addition to others we've received, highlights that not only have we experienced tremendous growth, but the facilities we are constructing are worthy of national recognition.”

General contractor for the building project was Turner Construction Company.

Jurors who selected the 10 honorees were Mark Dewalt, principal at Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates; Henry Tom, a member of Line and Space architecture firm in Tucson, Ariz.; and John Saldana, founding principal with ROJO Architecture in Tampa, Fla.


Media Contact: Robin Russell, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, robin.russell@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu.
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