The renovation of Kearney Hall (formerly Apperson Hall) began with focus group discussions with the staff and faculty. One of the key goals of the renovation was for the building itself to serve as a teaching tool for engineering students. The renovation leaves the historic building envelope intact, restores the roof profile and upgrades the thermal performance of the original masonry exterior walls. Complete replacement of existing internal structure, spaces and finishes results in a teaching facility that meets today’s pedagogical and technological needs.
Kearney Hall provides academic space including classrooms, lecture halls and an auditorium to serve Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering undergraduate and graduate students. Office and lounge space for faculty, staff, and students was also incorporated into the design.
The interior design concept includes a vertical circulation pavilion consisting of an eco-elevator enclosed in a glass shaft and a central staircase at the circulation promenade, creating a focal point that anchors the building vertically and creates an informal social space.
Principles of sustainability guided the design and were integrated throughout the process. The project team coalesced around the idea that utilizing environmentally responsible approaches in renovating Kearney Hall could provide valuable first-hand teaching opportunities to the students who walk the halls. Exposed building elements and technologies are allowed to ‘speak for themselves’, highlighting thermal envelope improvements, structural systems, salvaged materials, seismic solutions, stormwater management and mechanical distribution. Kearney Hall was awarded LEED Gold NC 2.1 in September 2009.