Precast innovator Taktl encloses campus hub in Architectural Ultra High Performance Concrete

Polished concrete floors, coupled with painted steel columns, beams, and metal deck ceiling, invoke an industrial aesthetic in the 1,900-sq.-ft. Engineering Innovation Hub’s teaching lab.

A textured, dark gray cube presents the Engineering Innovation Hub as a key SUNY New Paltz campus presence. Urbahn Architects detailed a rain-screen style system based on stud-mounted Taktl Architectural Ultra High Performance Concrete panels. The New York City architect configured the HUB to allow for expansion to the east.



PHOTOS: Ola Wilk, Wilk Marketing Communications

The State University of New York at New Paltz, Urbahn Architects, and PC Construction have completed the $13.5 million Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH), a two-story, 19,500-sq.-ft. facility housing a bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering, teaching and research lab spaces, plus the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center.

“The highlight of the building’s architecture is a cubic form that perches over the entrance plaza. The textured, dark gray cube, with a luminous, bright red metal soffit above the entrance and a backdrop of lighter forms, announces the building as an important presence on the campus. It relates to neighboring buildings and opens up views to a quad, diagonally opposite to it,” observes Ranabir Sengupta, AIA, LEED AP, project designer and associate principal with New York-based Urbahn Architects.

The exterior walls feature a thin concrete rain-screen system from Taktl LLC in Turtle Creek, Pa. The producer’s registered product, Architectural Ultra High Performance Concrete (AUHPC), combines fine aggregate mixes with (alkali resistant) AR glass fibers and AR glass fiber grids, and offers an alternative to conventional precast or glass fiber reinforced concrete and non-cementious material cladding. Taktl fabricated the lighter gray “Platinum Smooth” and darker, textured “Grey Reed” AUHPC panels enclosing the EIH from its automated production facility near Pittsburgh.


“The site of the new building is centrally located on campus, which required strict construction safety and logistics protocols to ensure the welfare of workers, students, faculty, and visitors during construction,” notes Michael Davies, project manager for Vermont-based PC Construction. “Relying on our team’s expertise in LEED certification procedures and the Lean Construction method, we have delivered a highly sustainable and energy efficient facility where engineering students can excel for years to come.”

The EIH was made possible by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grant competition, in which SUNY New Paltz was awarded $10 million to support academic programs that translate directly into Empire State economic development. The College also received $1 million through the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s annual Consolidated Funding Application.

“The Engineering Innovation Hub will support and diversify the College’s rapidly growing engineering programs, and foster collaboration between the College and local industry. The College extends its deepest thanks to Governor Cuomo and his team for recognizing the value of this project and its educational and economic benefits for the Hudson Valley region. This investment is projected to yield a regional economic impact of more than $75 million, and about 195 jobs, over 10 years,” says SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian.

The Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center, which has been providing education, guidance, CAD design, advice on materials used for additive manufacturing, and 3D printing services to SUNY New Paltz students and educators as well as to entrepreneurs and businesses since 2013, will operate a laboratory and offices in the new building. The Center’s collection of 3D printers constitutes some of the most advanced technology at any academic laboratory in the United States. The College is the first institution of higher education in the nation to be designated a Stratasys-MakerBot Additive Research & Teaching or SMART lab by Stratasys, the world’s leading 3D-printing hardware and systems company.