Philadelphia, PA – The Harman Group (THG), a firm specializing in structural engineering and parking planning and design, celebrated the grand opening of the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center (RISC) with students, alumni and friends of Lafayette College in Easton, PA. The five-story, 104,000 square-foot academic science and laboratory building features a basement, laboratories, a vivarium, greenhouse, classrooms and administrative spaces for the Biology, Neuroscience and Computer Science departments.

The building brings together Lafayette’s biology, computer science, environmental science, and neuroscience departments to promote the integration of different sciences and to foster collaboration and innovation. In addition to academic departments, the building houses the Dyer IDEAL Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education and will also connect to the Acopian Engineering Center building.

The Harman Group provided structural engineering services for the $75 million project, the largest capital project in the school’s history. Turner Construction Company is the builder and Boston-based architecture firm, Payette, designed the building to encourage collaborative learning amongst the College’s science and engineering departments.

“It was an honor to have the opportunity to be part of this project on Lafayette College’s campus, where my educational foundation in engineering was built,” said Kirk Harman, President and Managing Principal at The Harman Group and a Lafayette alumnus. “The Harman Group is thrilled to see the campus expand with the addition of a state-of-the-art facility where students can learn and grow as young professionals.”

Situated on the north side of the campus’ quad, adjacent to the Anderson Courtyard, RISC is set into a hillside in between two existing buildings, requiring a unique structural configuration of the five-story building. The building terraces down the steep slope with the main entrance from Anderson Courtyard into the 3rd floor with two floors below and three floors visible from the courtyard. The foundation system employs spread and mat footings, underpinning of the existing buildings and replacement of an aging 15-foot-tall retaining wall on the slope. The structure is a concrete slab on metal deck and composite beam floor system with a steel superstructure. A steel vierendeel truss system provides open column-free space, connecting the lobby to the exterior lower courtyard, supporting the brick exterior wall on the south side. The building was also strategically designed with vibration control to allow the operation of sensitive research equipment in the lab spaces.

“Working on this project with outstanding and creative team members, was a pleasure,” said Malcolm Bland, Vice President of The Harman Group, who was the Principal-in-Charge and Project Manager of the structural team. “The site and building design presented very specific design and construction challenges that, working collaboratively with Payette, Turner, Aegis, and Lafayette, were addressed with creative and efficient solutions.”

This is the third project The Harman Group completed at Lafayette College. Previous projects include the film and media studies building, William C. Buck Hall, and Keefe Hall, a five-story student residence building. The firm is also currently working on the new McCartney Street student housing, a three-story mix of student living and public space.

About The Harman Group

Founded in 1984, The Harman Group, with offices in King of Prussia, PA and New York City, provides structural engineering, parking planning and design and construction engineering services. The Harman Group has the unique ability to provide outstanding engineering solutions, using state of the art computational methods, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other technology, combined with high-level, personal customer service. For more information, please visit www.harmangroup.com

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