As one of the most impressive of its kind in the country, the $22 million Auburn University Structural Testing Laboratory is a state-of-the-art testing facility that will provide ample opportunities for student learning and faculty research. The vision for this new facility was to expand testing capabilities and provide new opportunities for exploration and testing of different structural members. This facility serves as a replacement to the former Structures Lab and was designed and constructed to meet current testing needs and have the necessary flexibility to meet future testing needs. Not only will this facility give civil engineering students hands-on experience in structural testing, but will inform those in the field of new opportunities, including research and innovation for the future.
The new Structural Testing Laboratory is a 41,500 SF advanced testing facility, inclusive of a 4,700 SF geotechnical test chamber, concrete materials research and testing laboratory, wind testing facility, and administrative area, which includes faculty and graduate student spaces. The project team worked closely with the user group, which included the majority of the University’s civil engineering department, to meet their testing needs and optimize opportunities for student learning. For example, one particularly unique aspect of the facility is that it features the different material types often used in the civil engineering field. Some of the most common material types in the field, steel, concrete, masonry, and wood, are all incorporated in different areas of the facility. Featuring different exposed material types was intentional in the building’s design and is meant to be used as a teaching tool to highlight the various materials often used in the field. Throughout the entire project, we worked closely with Chambless King Architects and the design team to meet the user group’s facility needs.
The Auburn University Structural Testing Laboratory provides students with hands-on learning experience they will carry with them into their future careers as civil and structural engineers. This facility will increase the career readiness for civil engineering students and provide a greater capacity for faculty research, which will provide data to improve overall decision making in the civil engineering field.