Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper Quad Project

BuroHappold Engineering


The Tepper Quad Project provides students and faculty with modern facilities including a 600-seat auditorium, a fitness center, and an abundance of study and social spaces. As well as accommodating 40% higher student enrollment for 2019, the School has been designed from the inside out with flexibility to adapt to the demands of an ever-changing educational landscape. BuroHappold Engineering’s pioneering use of BubbleDeck technology within our structural design proved revolutionary in the realization of the Business School. As this was a new concept in the US, we worked closely with our client and the contractor to prove the value of our approach and ensure its successful application. Because BubbleDeck contains 35% less concrete than traditional solid structural slabs, it significantly reduced the embodied energy of the building by 30%. In combination with our loft-style MEP strategy, which integrates services distribution within the ceiling voids, this solution enabled us to save floor-to-floor height throughout the building, and reduce its overall height by 10ft in line with local planning limits. BubbleDeck technology incorporates recycled plastic balls within concrete to create a honeycomb structure that is as strong as a solid concrete slab, yet weighs 35% less. The balls that run through a BubbleDeck slab are made from recycled high density polyethylene, which comes from reject plastic kayaks. Carnegie Mellon University is the first university to use BubbleDeck technology in Pennsylvania, and with a total floor area of 300,000ft2, it is the largest floor area of any BubbleDeck building in the U.S.

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