To that end, various parts of the building also serve as teaching tools. A rock wall simulating the earth’s strata with geologic fault formations greets building visitors as they enter the lobby, but it serves as more than an art installation. It is a two-story visual representation of the history of drilling from straight-bore downhole strategies to horizontal perforations and hydraulic fracturing. A history lesson every time students walk past it.
Realizing that today’s generation of students typically learn theories of science before actually applying them in a laboratory setting, the school desired a way to marry teaching methods and seamlessly combine them.
The Edward E Whitacre Jr College of Engineering administration at Texas Tech University believes in a total hands-on encompassing experience for their students.
Seven types of limestone are layered to create the rock wall. Most units are 8” x 24” x 1 ½” with split face finish for a natural, rustic look. A sedimentary rock, limestone’s fossil-rich formations are visually interesting and dynamic. A light cream-colored stone with sea shells is layered with stone of mottled browns and grays and then mineral-rich reds and charcoal colors. Abundant in Texas, local stone was used where possible, but to achieve the full variety and diversity of color and texture desired, stone was sourced from as near as Texas Quarries and as far away as central Spain.
“Architect Gary Machicek, design principal at Kirksey Architecture, gave us the concept of what the University was looking for,” stated Hal McCullough, vice president of Maiden Stone, global sourcer of natural stone. Layers of earth’s strata formed over the millennia of time responding differently as depth increases. 8000 ft and below are depicted with limestone from various areas with varying colors.
It is the texture in the raw that attracts our senses along with most interesting colorations from oxides, minerals and other impurities including siliceous skeletal fragments. The seven limestones selected for this dramatic wall include darker, dense stones from two quarries in one region of central Spain:
- Noire, blackish, sometimes with chocolate and vanilla swirls
- Aegean, blue-grey with brown tones
- Farro, golden brownish
- Fiore, lighter brownish with deeper golden tones, sister stone to Farro
Lighter, creamier stones indigenous to Texas Quarries with vast deposits are:
- Lueders Roughback with natural texture contours and a range of color from rust orange to white with most pronounced coloration on outside crust at top and bottom of ledge, now recognized for its distinction
- Lueders Grey, a brownish taupe grey similar to an elephant grey
- Cordova Shell Stone, creamy in color saturated with embedded shell inclusions from former marine life is cut to expose its intricacies. The definitely distinctive shells glisten in the sun or well-lit interior – fascinating
All stone is most textural chisel face 24″ x 8″, weighing about 130 lb/cf which equates to 14lb/sf for thin veneer. Texas Quarries in Liberty Hill is about 20 miles northwest of Austin with stone being extracted at a depth of 15′ – 20′ according to Dustin Nash, technical sales. He says these quarries are the only ones in the US to exhibit sea creatures.
Every time a student or faculty walks by this two-story 104′ long muraled wall, he/she is absorbed and stimulated by its breathtaking beauty, diversity of color, textural splendor. This teaching wall represents formation of the limestone underground for millions of years. And the elements affecting its extended life cycle.
With the advent of thin veneers, building interiors can become the new frontier for those who want to use masonry to adorn grand spaces.
Cordova Shell Stone is heavy with fossilized marine life, which give it distinct character. The shell stone is found naturally layered beneath Cordova Creme in the quarry .
Interactive monitors and display cases embedded in the wall showcase related tools and technologies . Other petroleum engineering machinery pieces and materials are displayed throughout the lobby.
Texas Tech’s campus is known for its Spanish Renaissance architectural style. The exterior of the Petroleum Engineering Research Building does not disappoint.
LEED certified, the Petroleum Engineering Building earned points the Materials & Resources category for regionally extracted and manufactured materials, including both the brick, cast stone and some limestone. The efficient masonry envelope and thermal mass of the rock wall contributed to points in the Optimizing Energy Performance credit of the Energy and Atmosphere category as well as the rock wall’s contributing to Thermal Comfort and Low Emitting material credits in the Indoor Environmental Quality category.
Custom Texas Tech brick blend of four earth-tone brick and cast stone on the Terry Fuller Petroeum Engineering Research Building sets the tone for first-class learning environments inside.
TERRY FULLER PETROLEUM ENGINEERING RESEARCH BUILDING
Texas Tech University | Lubbock TX
Kirksey Architecture | Houston
Vaughn Construction | Houston
Winco Masonry | Houston
ACME Brick | Laticrete | Maiden Stone Texas Quarries
43,000 sf | $22.8 million | LEED Certified Completion date 2014