Engineering and Applied Research
HGA has a depth of experience working with higher education clients to support the mission and initiatives of their Schools or Colleges of Engineering – helping them advance in national rankings by offering engineering environments that help them recruit and retain faculty and students. We work closely with our clients to anticipate and design cutting edge spaces, often on multiple projects over many years, and have an in-depth understanding of what comprises today’s and future successful engineering education.
Student spaces include dedicated project work spaces, study rooms, and informal gathering areas. All of these have become essential components of any engineering education community. Informal gathering areas such as a student commons or majors lounge can be extensions of formal teaching spaces, accommodating displays, tutoring, and group discussions.
Included in project spaces are makerspaces and innovation labs, a broad group of flexible research and learning environments, from office type spaces containing only light computing, to machine shops, to highly flexible open research labs. Partnerships with industry are becoming more prevalent, as programs are developed to train future engineers to not only conceive and prototype new products, but to bring them to market as well.
Cross-curricular programs in engineering education mirror the collaboration among multiple subject experts that is the hallmark of interdisciplinary research. Along with this, new trends in science and engineering instruction favor an interactive, participatory learning environment over the traditional lecture mode.
Instructional labs that accommodate a variety of functions from small lectures to demonstrations to group experiential work and group discussions all within the same space reinforce the atmosphere of communication and collaboration. These spaces can be arranged in sub-dividable suites of multiple rooms and in close proximity to computational work spaces to further encourage the free flow among the various activities that comprise the engineering education experience.
Flexible Research Spaces
Labs need to be adaptable over time to evolving research and changing instrumentation set-ups. Open labs with movable casework and an infrastructure “backbone” allow for spaces that can be reconfigured to suit new processes and give the ability for researchers in traditionally separate disciplines to work collaboratively as new fields emerge. The connection of experimental spaces with computational clusters for data analysis has become an integral part of these collaborations.
“We want to continue to attract and recruit the best students and provide them with exceptional experiences at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This new facility will allow for even greater collaboration between students and faculty across disciplines so we can deliver scholarship of the highest caliber to address important societal issues.”