Maier Hall is a is a 65,000 sq.ft., 3-story center for fine arts, music, humanities and related instructional programs. The focal point is the 134-seat performance hall, which also serves as a multi-purpose classroom. The hall can be acoustically tuned for music, lectures and films. Located at the edge of campus, Maier Hall sits on a complex landscape which includes virgin forests, wetlands, and a sensitive ravine. As a replacement project for four seismically‐deficient and sprawling one‐story buildings, the stacked program of Maier Hall restores thousands of square feet of campus to its pre‐development condition. The three‐story building, woven between the trees and wetlands, situates its occupants in a powerful relationship to the surrounding ecosystem. The building creates a gateway between the campus and the adjacent wetlands by allowing people to pass through the building and proceed onto a viewing platform at the wetland edge.
The building features extensive use of natural daylight and ventilation. Manual and automatic operable windows control airflow and temperature while bringing students into direct contact with the unique campus environment. Stair towers are used to cool the building via stack effect, and a geo‐exchange energy source provides both radiant heating and cooling. An epiphytic (moss) living roof reduces the heat‐island effect, while exterior solar shading devices block direct sunlight to reduce glare in critical task areas and reduce solar heat gain. All new plantings are native species requiring no permanent irrigation system. Storm‐water runoff is directed to the wetland for on‐site infiltration and wetland rehabilitation.
O’Brien & Company worked with the team for this project early on to help facilitate an integrated process to shape and site the building. This project is a good example of how working collaboratively leads to solutions that enhanced the project overall. The ultimate design preserved the forest grove, increased the health of a wetland, and met all the programmatic goals. Once the conceptual green design was in place, O’Brien supported the LEED process and worked collectively with the design team to keep the project at the Gold level in tight economic times. For example, helping to design an green building education plan that required little investment from the College, yet earned an Innovation point.