Sustainable and Smart

Oct. 5, 2011

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The team faced multiple challenges in the creation and design of Belmont University's McWhorter Hall. The end goal was to create an innovative, state-of-the-art, experiential learning space within a structure consistent with the century-old architecture prevalent on the university campus.

McWhorter Hall includes a four-level, 420-vehicle underground parking garage that reduces the structural footprint to less than an acre. A one-level footprint is 37,411 square feet.

McWhorter Hall also boasts the only large, extensive green roof on an educational facility in Nashville, which reduces cooling/heating costs and provides extra insulation.

Merit Winner:
McWhorter Hall

Category: New Construction

Grand Prize Winners
Rockingham Memorial Hospital
University of Colorado Boulder
Suffolk Theatre

Merit Winners
McWhorter Hall
Sandy Bridges
Adler School
Worldwide Finacial

Mimicking a cedar glade, the roof provides a natural habitat for birds and butterflies and includes 85% flowering and colorful plantings. The roof reduces the amount of stormwater that reaches the ground, using it to provide irrigation to the plants and allow some of it to slowly evaporate back into the atmosphere.

Surrounding the rooftop cupola are native Tennessee plants comprising the extensive green roof that reduces the urban heat island effect, mentioned above. It also provides lower temperatures around the air intake systems and extra insulation on the roof.

The building includes a 20,000-gallon water storage tank that captures excess ground and stormwater for recycling as a campus irrigation source.

“Belmont University has raised its national visibility level for innovative strides it has taken in recent years with regard to academic programs and learning environments," says David W. Minnigan, AIA, LEED AP, senior designer/principal of ESA.

“Supporting the university’s progressive direction is McWhorter Hall, designed to provide state-of-the-art laboratories and adaptable, flexible space for interdisciplinary initiatives and accommodations for experiential learning components.”

McWhorter Hall is a 88,313-square-foot structure attached to the existing 215,000-square-foot Gordon E. Inman Center that houses Belmont University’s College of Health Sciences & Nursing, of which the School of Pharmacy is a part. Other programs ­­— including nursing, occupational therapy and social work - use space in the building as interdisciplinary initiatives held in the laboratories.

Experiential learning spaces include a licensed pharmacy and a clinic that provides services as training sites for students.

PROJECT TEAM (partial list)
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Belmont University

Program Manager:

Architect (Award Submitter):
Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.

Interior Designer:
Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.

Construction Manager / Contractor:
R. C. Mathews Contractor

Structural Engineer:
Ross Bryan Associates, Inc.

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