Steel Shots: Off the Grid

The new vertical expansion to MSU’s Wells Hall added 88,000 sq. ft of space in three stories - at a 31° angle to the existing building directly beneath it.

It had to be diagonal.

That was the determination after many months of deliberation about positioning a new academic building in relation to an existing building at Michigan State University.

The new classroom and office building that would replace the school’s Morrill Hall, which was demolished, had been considered in numerous locations and orientations. The final decision, though, was that in order to meet all of the programmatic and site requirements, the new building needed to rise three stories directly above the existing Wells Hall building - not aligned on the original building’s grid, but rather sprawled diagonally across it.

Set at a 31° angle to its immediate surroundings, the 88,000-sq.-ft addition includes three stories and a mechanical penthouse above existing classrooms. It provides a new home for the College of Arts and Letters and allows the university’s language programs to be brought together in a common facility that includes classrooms, offices, language labs, a two-story atrium, a new auditorium, a coffee shop and a green roof. It’s a technologically advanced learning facility designed to be a comfortable place of interaction between students and faculty.

To learn more about the project, read the article “Off the Grid” in the February issue of MSC (available now!).