Daniel H. Lopez Chemistry Building
Van H. Gilbert Architect, P.C.
Posted: October 21, 2020 | Projects
Often referred to as the central science, chemistry brings together physics and mathematics, biology and medicine, and the earth and environmental sciences – exactly the kind of scientific discipline best supported by a modern academic environment.
Photo Courtesy of Patrick Coulie Photography, Inc.
When New Mexico Tech sought a replacement for its aging chemistry department that had been housed in two separate buildings, they turned to Van H. Gilbert Architect (VHGA), who was also the architect for Tech’s new Geology Building.
The Daniel H. Lopez Chemistry Building, which opened September 2017, not only delivers a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility hub devoted to chemistry, it also enhances the university’s ability to compete academically with programs across the country.
Given Tech’s commitment to leading-edge research and its expanding enrollment, the new two-story, 40,0000-square-foot chemistry building was designed with an emphasis on collaboration, dynamic learning, laboratory and infrastructure flexibility, technological sophistication, and a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.
The building’s efficient spatial layout allows natural light to flood into each room. High performance glazing at all exterior walls and a large clerestory over a central atrium welcomes sunlight into the interior. LED lighting with occupancy sensor technology and low-flow fixtures reduces energy costs and minimizes water usage. The building envelope uses an Exterior Insulation Finish System (EIFS) as a continuous insulation method, along with batt fiberglass insulation, double-thick walls, and set-back windows – all of which contribute to the high energy-savings performance.
Building materials are primarily locally sourced and specified with durability and ease of serviceability in mind. Multiple materials have pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content in them. The building is expected to achieve LEED® Silver certification.
The building features 19 labs with multiple fume hoods in each lab, classroom space, staff offices, a chemical storage and stockroom, common areas, lounges, and a staff conference room. At the heart of the building, the atrium functions as a series of breakout spaces, providing students and faculty an informal meeting place.
Due to the numerous fume hoods in the labs and the subsequent safety concerns for the occupants, the building is equipped with a sophisticated HVAC system that exhausts large volumes of air and replaces them with clean tempered air in an energy efficient manner. The system also communicates parameters and operating data to a central facility management system – a New Mexico Tech requirement.
Commons spaces, with seating areas and softer finishes, allows for one-to-one collaboration, yet are sized for large gatherings. Directly adjacent to the commons are separate lounges for staff and students.
Wireless access is available throughout the building, including access in the courtyards. Wired network outlets are also located throughout the building.
Dr. Michael Heagy, Chemistry Department Chair, says the new chemistry building has already had an impact on current students. “We are joining a higher tier of research,” he said. “This is the big league – when you have a single discipline in one facility. We are honoring the investment by the state and upping our game.”
Building Envelope: Tremco, Carlisle, Parex USA, BASF
Roofing: Boral, Carlisle
Windows, Entrances, Storefronts & Curtain Wall: Tubelite
Glazing: Vitro Architectural Glass
Flooring: Armstrong, Daltile, Roppe, Shaw
Interior: Sherwin Williams, Armstrong, National Gypsum
Lighting: Metalux, Corelite, Fallsaft, Atlantic, Surelites, US Architectural
Van H. Gilbert Architect, P.C.
2428 Baylor Drive, S.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87106
1776 Montano Road, N.W.
Los Ranchos, NM 87107
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers
4600 Montgomery Boulevard, N.E., #C
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Isaacson & Arfman Engineers
128 Monroe Street, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87108
CRM Cost Consulting, Inc.
6120 87th Street
Lubbock, TX 79424
Bradbury Stamm Construction
7110 2nd Street, N.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Research Facilities Design
3965 5th Avenue, #400
San Diego, CA 92103
Location: Socorro, New Mexico
Date Bid: Nov 2015
Construction Period: Feb 2016 to Apr 2017
Total Square Feet: 41,532
Site: 3.45 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 6 teaching labs, seating 24 each; 1 lecture hall, seating 50.
Building Sizes: Basement, 1,837; first floor, 19,013; second floor, 18,622; mechanical penthouse, 2,060; total, 41,532 square feet.
Building Height: Basement, 13′; first floor, 15′6″; second floor, 15′6″; mechanical penthouse, 15′; total, 49′3″.
Basic Construction Type: New/II B.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, pier & grade beam, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade.
Exterior Walls: Curtain wall, EIFS.
Roof: Membrane, concrete tile.
Floors: Concrete, composite deck.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.