The team behind construction of UC Irvine’s Engineering Hall has won the esteemed 2011 Design-Build Institute of America award for design excellence in educational facilities, which honors projects in which all services are provided under one contract with a single point of responsibility.

“This was truly a team effort,” said campus architect Rebekah Gladson, associate vice chancellor for design & construction services. “UCI took the lead in the strategic vision and architectural utilization of the plan from inception to completion. The design-build concept brought huge savings in both cost and energy usage.”

Engineering Hall, in combination with the campus’s energy efficient infrastructure, outperforms California’s energy code standards by 55 percent.

“DBIA doesn’t give this award for projects that just meet expectations,” she added. “They have to exceed expectations in every way.”

Her department worked with HOK Architects, BFL Owen, Hensel Phelps and Carrier Johnson on the $52 million, 122,000-square-foot facility. A stunning anchor to Ring Mall, it houses wet and dry labs for five engineering departments, a faculty office wing and a 340-seat lecture hall.

“All the laboratory space overlooks Ring Mall,” said Gladson, who has overseen 73 UCI construction projects in 20 years, “and the other wing is all office space and the auditorium.” Segregating the building functions meant the more expensive laboratory air flow systems could be installed just in that section, rather than throughout the facility.

With the UCI design team and all engineers meeting at least once a week to discuss progress, the integrated design-build approach also saved money by preventing costly changes to the schedule. Faculty, students and staff moved into Engineering Hall in summer 2009.

“The utility of this building is an example of the excellence that can be achieved through interdepartmental collaboration,” said Gregory Washington, dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “We don’t just have a building; we have an academic home, and it’s a testament to true partnership.”

UCI’s Humanities Gateway facility, which recently earned a LEED Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, won a DBIA award in 2010.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.