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UB dedicates new $75 million school of engineering building on North Campus

Photo of Barbara and Jack Davis Hall

Barbara and Jack Davis Hall will enable UB to expand research in nanotechnology, pattern recognition, bio-based security systems and other fields

Published May 10, 2012

The University at Buffalo today officially opened its new $75 million, environmentally friendly School of Engineering and Applied Sciences research facility.

Located on UB's North Campus, Barbara and Jack Davis Hall is named in honor of the Western New York couple in recognition of their lifetime philanthropic contributions to the university.

"This magnificent building brings new energy to the whole UB landscape, and it will have just as transformative an impact on our faculty and students, our university and our communities," said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.

"We have many friends and partners to thank -- from our elected leadership and generous donors to the local and national firms whose tremendous craftsmanship is reflected in this state-of-the-art, sustainable facility. Of course, no one has played a greater part than Barbara and Jack Davis -- their great legacy has helped to create a truly exceptional environment to advance our engineering faculty and students in their work," he said.

With an exterior bathed in glass and copper-colored panels, Davis Hall is reminiscent of a printed circuit board, the device used to connect and support electronic components in virtually all electronic devices. The structure's interior builds on the theme with open staircases and common areas intended to promote interaction among faculty and students, according to Perkins+Will, the New York-based firm that designed Davis Hall.

"It's a beautiful building and I'm very proud to have my name on it," said Jack Davis, a 1955 graduate of UB's engineering school. "It's an eye catcher from a distance and the closer you get, the more you can see of its fine workmanship and appreciate its stunning design."

Davis is the founder of Akron-based I Squared R Element Co., the nation's only manufacturer of silicon carbide and molybdenum disilicide heating elements. The elements are used to make flat-panel display glass, fiber optics, solar panels and other products.

Davis Hall will house two departments -- Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering -- as well as the Center of Excellence in Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR) and the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS). It will help the nationally ranked school pursue research in nanotechnology, pattern recognition, bio-based security systems and other fields of research, said Rajan Batta, the engineering school's acting dean.

"As a new home to both Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Davis Hall will greatly expand our faculty, laboratory and academic teaching spaces, and in so doing greatly extend the scope and quality of UB Engineering's cutting-edge research programs and educational activities," Batta said.

The hybrid design of Davis Hall stresses the value of interactive space for learning and discovery. The building is organized around a glass-enclosed, multi-story gallery that facilitates pedestrian traffic into the existing campus, creates an interactive educational/research environment and culminates in a multi-tiered student lounge that activates a new courtyard.

"Perkins+Will is proud to work with the University at Buffalo to forge a new identity for their campus through the design of Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, launching a new generation of sustainable, interdisciplinary and innovative buildings," said Robert Goodwin, principal and design director, New York, Perkins+Will. "The sculptural form and palette of the building makes a bold statement about the UB's commitment to the future. This new home for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers a connected and integrated environment that we hope will inspire students and faculty to explore new directions in research, education and cross-collaboration."

The building, which received nearly $50 million in state funding, was built by Turner Construction, New York City. It was designed for gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Funding for Davis Hall also includes $800,000 in federal funds for lab facilities within the building that Sen. Charles Schumer helped to obtain.

"The opening of Barbara and Jack Davis Hall is an important and exciting achievement for the University at Buffalo that will further the advancement of knowledge and support the regional economy with innovation, ideas and new jobs," Schumer said. "I am proud to deliver the federal funding that helped make this development at UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences a reality so that we can train tomorrow's brightest and most talented engineers."