From SCN employees
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Turner Construction Company and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) recently celebrated the completion and opening of the USNA Cyber Studies Building – Hopper Hall. The facility, a design-build project led by Turner and created by SOM, is the first U.S. military academy building devoted to the study of cybersecurity. The project is to receive the LEED Silver certification from the USGBC.
The building was named after Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a computer science pioneer and one of the original creators of the world’s first commercial electronic computer. It is the first academic structure named after a woman at a major U.S. service academy. This represents a great step forward in the evolution of the US military – nearly five decades after the last USNA academic structure was established, Hopper Hall is developing a rapidly modernizing curriculum that will advance the next generation of military leadership.
The USNA campus is home to a variety of architectural styles, from Beaux-Arts to Modern. Hopper Hall’s location on the edge of Isherwood Terrace along the Severn River is between the modernist Nimitz Library and Rickover Hall. The architecture of the new building is inspired by its neighbors in terms of both size and material. The Hopper Hall has a horizontal mass and a regular grid of punched windows that resemble the designs of the adjacent buildings. The precast concrete facade reflects the color and texture of the stone and concrete that surrounds Isherwood Terrace.
On the first floor, Hopper Hall expands Isherwood Terrace into a two-story, 6,000-square-foot common room known as the “bridge”. This informal lobby can be converted into a function room for exhibitions, presentations and other ceremonies. The room starts at the entrance of the building and ends near an outside staircase that leads to the waterfront. It is oriented towards the middle of the terrace. This orientation, combined with a full-height curtain wall at both ends, preserves the historical view of the water.
Four departments of the cyber security discipline are located in the Hopper Hall: Cyber Science, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology as well as Weapons Robotics Controls. About 70 percent of the six-story building is used for teaching and research in these departments. There are a total of 68 classrooms, seminar rooms, laboratories and research facilities. Complementary to these spaces are faculty offices, as well as a coffee shop and a variety of additional rooms that promote education in cybersecurity and other USNA curricula.
In addition to the faculty offices, the building includes a laboratory for energy studios, a laboratory for green energy, an optics laboratory, an anechoic chamber and an auditorium. It also expands the major in robotics and control technology to include a test system for flight robotics. At the top level, an observatory serves as a valuable new resource for courses in physics and other majors. On the ground floor, two water test facilities – the Surface and Underwater Robotics Facility (SURF) and the Shared Waterfront Activities Lab (WAL) – are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including sand filtration, disinfection systems, video recording devices and a three-dimensional motion tracking system and a monorail that enables submersible vehicles to be connected to a Weight of up to two tons can be lifted.
The LEED® Silver certification is primarily aimed at optimizing air quality, water consumption, energy efficiency, the ratio of window to wall and elasticity measures. The resilience of the building controls the technical challenges of the site: Hopper Hall is located on reclaimed land within the 100-year-old floodplains. As an outbuilding, it had to be explosion-proof and flood-proof and have a programmatic failure safety. This resilience is achieved in part by stacking the building, which houses the water-based laboratories in the base of the building – where the facade is most solid – while the data laboratories, faculty offices, and teaching and event rooms are located on the higher floors .
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is a collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners responsible for some of the world’s most technically and ecologically advanced buildings and significant public spaces. Turner is a North America-based international construction services company founded in 1902.