Engineered for Excellence: SUI Part of Award-Winning Design

The student space inside the engineering wing of Olivet Nazarene University’s Reed Hall of Science in Bourbonnais, IL presented the architect with the challenge of bringing light to a space surrounded by buildings. The solution was provided by an expansive pyramid skylight designed by Structures Unlimited, Inc. of Bow, NH.

The 41’ x 41’ skylight is the centerpiece of the 19,000-square-foot, three-story addition which was recently awarded a Gold Citation in the 2015 American School & University’s Educational Interiors Showcase.

The project, designed by Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects, Inc. of Joliet, Ill., was one of only three to earn the prestigious Gold Citation.

“The only way we could do it was to use a skylight. It was a perfect solution to a little bit of a tricky problem,” said Tom Buchar, AIA, NCARB of Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects. “It worked extremely well, and is well-liked by the students and also by the administration.”

The $13.9 million project included 1,722-square-feet of 2 ¾ Kalwall® translucent sandwich panels that Structures Unlimited incorporated into the skylight to bathe the main lobby in diffuse natural daylight. The structure not only creates an inspiring atmosphere for learning, but met the university’s desire to have the project be as environmentally conscious as possible.

AS&U is a leading voice in education facilities and its annual Educational Interiors Showcase is the premier architectural competition in the industry. The awards were announced in the August edition of American School & University.

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