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Project Profile: Engineering Innovation Hub, SUNY New Paltz

The facility supports state-of-the-art 3D print prototyping labs 

by Peter Wilk
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Project name: Engineering Innovation Hub, SUNY New Paltz
Location: New Paltz, NY
Size: 19,500 sq. ft.
Cost: $13.5 million
Project team: Urbahn Architects (architect), PC Construction (construction), Vanderweil Engineers (mechanical and electrical engineer), CSA Group (plumbing engineer), Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA) (structural engineer), YR&G (LEED consultant), BET Engineering Consultants (civil engineer), Edgewater Design (landscape designer), Lumen Architecture (lighting designer), Ellana, Inc. (cost estimator)
Completion date: September 2019

SUNY New Paltz labThe State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, Urbahn Architects, and PC Construction have completed the new two-story, 19,500-square foot Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building. The new facility hosts SUNY New Paltz’s relatively new and highly popular bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering and houses innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the school’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) focused on 3D printing technology.CREDIT: Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications

The State University of New York (SUNY)’s Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building houses the college’s bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering. It includes innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the school’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC). The facility also contains state-of-the-art 3D print prototyping labs to support the engineering program and the work of companies partnering with SUNY New Paltz and HVAMC. 

The building is designed to meet a LEED Silver sustainability certification.

SUNY New Paltz 3D printingSUNY New Paltz students perform 3D printing design and manufacturing research inside the Engineering Innovation Hub’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC).CREDIT: SUNY New Paltz

The Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center, which has been providing education, guidance, CAD design, advice on materials used for additive manufacturing, and 3D printing services to SUNY New Paltz students and educators as well as to entrepreneurs and businesses since 2013, will operate a laboratory and offices in the new building. The HVAMC’s collection of 3D printers constitutes some of the most advanced technology at any academic laboratory in the U.S. The college is the first institution of higher education in the nation to be designated a Stratasys-MakerBot Additive Research & Teaching or SMART lab by Stratasys, a 3D printing hardware and systems company. 

The building, located within SUNY New Paltz’s main campus, was erected on a former parking lot near the existing engineering building, Resnick Hall. It was designed to allow for a potential expansion to the east, if the program’s growth requires more space in the future. 

“The steel-frame building with spread footing and a slab-on-grade foundation was designed in a manner that eliminated the need for extensive and costly rock excavation that is typical for construction projects in the Catskill Mountains region,” explained Urbahn Architects’ Senior Associate Nandini Sengupta, LEED AP. “EIH’s ground floor lobby is wrapped in a glass storefront and glazed curtain wall systems to allow natural light into the area. The lobby serves as a collaborative study and social space with extensive white board surfaces, where students can learn outside the classroom setting.”

“The highlight of the building’s architecture is a cubic form that perches over the entrance plaza. The textured, dark gray cube, with a luminous, bright red metal soffit above the entrance and a backdrop of lighter forms, announces the building as an important presence on the campus. It relates to neighboring buildings and opens up views to a quad, diagonally opposite to it,” says project designer and Associate Principal, Ranabir Sengupta, AIA, LEED AP. 

SUNY New Paltz teaching labUrbahn Architects designed the large, 1,900-square foot teaching lab to invoke industrial aesthetic, including exposed ceilings and structural elements and polished-concrete floors. The HVAMC space that houses multiple 3D printers is located across the hallway from the large teaching lab and features the same finishes. CREDIT: Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications

The exterior walls feature an ultra high-performance rain-screen system with high-performance concrete panels in two colors, light and dark gray. The light gray portions have smooth appearance, while the dark gray sections feature textured panels. The rainscreen has a stud backup.

“The bright, open, 661-square foot entrance lobby is intended as a collaborative space for students. It features cabinets for the display of 3D-printed artifacts. Counters with computer charging and data outlets, lounge-style seating, and whiteboards that allow students to study, work, and collaborate. The lobby also features a textured art wall invoking 3D-printed panels. The flooring consists of textured porcelain ceramic tile and the ceiling is gypsum board. The space features ring-like curvilinear LED ceiling light fixtures,” says Urbahn Architects’ Construction Administrator Manuel Mateus. 

This floor houses incidental seating niches within the hallways and along the windows, allowing students to work in informal ways. The niches integrate benches, data access, and charging stations. The design of the large, 1,900-square foot teaching lab invokes industrial aesthetic. It features polished-concrete floors and painted steel columns, beams, and a metal deck ceiling. 

The HVAMC space that houses multiple 3D printers is located across the hallway from the large teaching lab and has the same finishes. Rounding out the first floor is an 850-square foot machine shop; a post-processing shop for the finishing of 3D-printed objects; and support spaces, including offices, mechanical and electrical rooms, and public bathrooms. An elevator with an accompanying lobby connects the Hub’s two floors.

SUNY New Paltz labSUNY New Paltz mechanical engineering students perform a compression strength test on a 3D-printed material, using the Instron 5984 electromechanical testing machine installed inside the Engineering Innovation Hub’s teaching laboratory.CREDIT: SUNY NEW PALTZ

On the second floor, there is a smaller lounge/collaborative space at the end of the main corridor, which offers a working counter and comfortable deep, cushioned armchairs. There are also eight faculty offices, an open office space, a 300-square foot conference room, three research/teaching labs, and a 1,200-square foot computer lab.

All of the collaborative spaces feature expanses of the university’s colors—blue and orange—as well as wood soffits and acoustical cloud ceilings to add warmth and texture to the spaces. Flooring is vinyl composition tile (VCT). The ceilings in the labs are exposed, with linear LED pendants illuminating these spaces.