Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS), Morgan State University

The 127,000 gsf Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies (CBEIS) acts as a gateway to Morgan State University’s urban campus at its Northern edge. The building supports the instructional and research programs of Morgan State University which address the physical aspects of the urban environment, and integrates several academic departments into a synergistic interdisciplinary environment.

Before CBEIS became a project, Morgan faced facility challenges for several departments and programs. Each had a growing individual need for expanded and updated space, but lacked enough need to secure funding for a new building. Morgan decided to bring together complimentary areas of study into one facility to achieve space need goals for each department. An initial program was created; however, due to the State of Maryland’s funding cycle, the design project sat on the shelf for five years.

When Morgan engaged the Hord Coplan Macht team for the design of CBEIS, the project began with a series of stakeholder meetings and program verification. As a new multidisciplinary building, a variety of stakeholder input was required. Stakeholders included:

  • School of Architecture & Planning: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Planning
  • Department of Civil Engineering, including Structural Engineering
  • Department of Transportation & Infrastructure Studies
  • University Design & Construction Management

Hord Coplan Macht met and coordinated with the stakeholder groups while performing program verification for the new shared facility.

Through fact-finding meetings, it was discovered that input from the stakeholders no longer matched the programmatic needs quantified in the five-year-old program.

Hord Coplan Macht updated the building program to reflect the current needs of the user groups. As engagement progressed, the design team had to bring consensus to two programmatic challenges: which spaces could be shared among the three programs, and which program would be “closest to the front door” of the building. Due to the complimentary nature of the programs centered around the built environment, the Hord Coplan Macht team focused on discussions that looked at the unique space and technology needs of each program, and identified spacial adjacencies of shared collaboration and flexible space between each. To give each department a “front door,” the department administrative offices are located along the atrium between two equally-used main entrances. Each department entrance is visible from both front doors.

The resulting facility supports the University’s overall institutional environment with additional shared facilities, including classrooms, computer labs, a library, and student lounge spaces. CBEIS also includes specialized equipment labs, group spaces, department and faculty offices. The design includes active learning classrooms, as well as flexible, multimedia presentation rooms which can be configured from one large space into three independent smart classrooms.

CBEIS includes a research facility funded by a grant from the Federal Transportation Department. CBEIS has 32 classrooms/labs/seminar rooms, 88 offices, and three department offices including the Dean’s suite. Laboratory spaces include:

  • Structures Material Testing & Research Lab
  • Seismic Simulator Lab
  • Environmental Chemistry Graduate Research Labs
  • Environmental Chemistry Faculty Research Labs
  • Biology Graduate Research Labs
  • Biology Faculty Research Labs
  • Maker Space

There are more than 100 pieces of Owner equipment (not furniture) that are located and supplied with building power, gas, water, vacuum, etc. This equipment includes an $800,000 seismic simulator (10’ x 10’ shake table) and a $250,000 tilting flume. CBEIS includes a 10 metric ton overhead rolling crane and two 4 ton lifts. Sustainability and energy efficiency were woven into the design to demonstrate design values of and to the architecture and engineering programs.

CBEIS received AIA Baltimore’s first Design Excellence for Sustainable Design award in 2012, AIA Maryland’s Public Building of the Year, and was recently named one of the “50 Most Impressive Environmentally Friendly University Buildings.” LEED Gold certified.

The Freelon Group was the associate architect for this project.