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Polytechnic University Applied Research Center

When the newest University in the state – it’s Polytechnic University – solicited for qualifications-based responses for the design and construction of its new Applied Research Center – or A.R.C. – the number of interested firms was significant. Being the state’s newest and most innovative university, engineered from the ground up to push the boundaries of education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and being located in the state’s High-Tech Corridor, the new Applied Research Center would provide cutting-edge degree programs that would prepare graduates to take on today’s fastest-growing fields.

With little-to-no information available, and with an architect who had only recently been selected, PRESWERX worked with its contractor client to develop a presentation that addressed the most conventional challenges facing the new construction of higher education facilities — namely, schedule and budget – and paired those challenges with some of the less conventional needs of this project – that being engagement of the tech-centric student body, and engagement with private sector, technology-centric businesses with whom the university routinely partners.

With almost no real facility design to refer to, PRESWERX and its contractor client had to rely exclusively on the facility program, and on the existing campus master plan, both of which shed some light on the needs of, and spatial constraints facing the new facility. With a gross square footage, wish-list of program space-types, and the outer limits of the building fixed by external constraints, PRESWERX and its partners devised several to-scale concepts of the facility, assigning and assessing cost of both the interior program spaces, and of the myriad of building skin options, based on the existing architectural vernacular of the newly established campus.

PRESWERX assessment of cost was overlaid with schedule and funding constraints, namely the distinct possibility that the project would be funded over two separate legislative sessions. PRESWERX worked with its contractor client to develop an approach to delivery that allowed for flexibility in the delivery of the project – allowing the project to be accelerated, or prolonged as may be necessary, depending on the amount and timing of funds from the state legislature. Additionally, PRESWERX created a robust virtual reality experience that allowed selection committee members – faculty and administrators – the ability to see, tour and virtually interact with different program spaces in the new facility, with opportunities to make changes that would then carry cost impacts that they’d see in real-time. Additionally, renderings, animations, cost estimates, and other conventional and unconventional media were woven into a comprehensive PRESWERX-developed project presentation, for which professional presentation coaching was provided.

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