SmithGroup project profile: University of Texas at Dallas, Engineering & Computer Science, West Building

University of Texas at Dallas, Engineering & Computer Science, West Building, Richardson, TX

By SmithGroup August 13, 2019

Engineering firm: SmithGroup

2019 MEP Giants rank: 30

Project: University of Texas at Dallas, Engineering & Computer Science, West Building

Location: Richardson, TX, U.S.

Building type: Educational facility, research facility/laboratory

Project type: New construction

Engineering services: Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; plumbing, piping

Project timeline: May 2015 to July 2018

MEP/FP budget: $1,620,000


The University of Texas at Dallas Engineering and Computer Science West Building has experienced exponential growth, more than doubling in size from 2008 to 2015 and projects a tripled student enrollment of 8,000 by 2020. The program required a ‘next generation’ facility to accommodate their rapid growth of faculty, student population and innovative research programs. The addition of the next generation Engineering and Computer Science West Building was designed to meet these needs.

The building program includes specialized instructional lab and classroom spaces for undergraduate studies in addition to advanced research, teaching and student learning environments that foster interdisciplinary collaboration. A mix of high-bay, wet and dry labs support three specialty research areas: energy, robotics and nano-bio, with additional labs for core researchers.

The project is LEED Gold certified with the U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC 3.0.


Building Envelope The building’s calibrated envelope uses transparency to display the program’s innovative teaching and research spaces, exposed structure, glass elevator shafts and color-coded building systems capitalize on the building as a machine allowing it to be used as a teaching tool for engineering.

Lucid Building Systems — All building systems are color coded to be expressed and understood by students as a learning tool.[/caption]

Lighting Systems

The lighting design utilizes advanced long-life Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and controls to support the function of spaces and create seamless transitions within the facility. The building accent and site lighting all have dimming controls to fine-tune luminance ratios and meet general illumination criteria. Daylighting sensors are used throughout the building to lower lighting levels when natural lighting is available to achieve 0.76 watts/SF interior LPD, 24% below the required energy code. Dual technology passive infrared and ultrasonic occupancy/vacancy sensors are used to provide automatic shut-off control of lights.

Next Generation Facility

The Engineering and Computer Science West Building is an expression of a vibrant interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering offering academic student learning environments and the connection to innovative research and industry to solve real world problems.