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Case Study: Parks College of Engineering and Aviation

Punit Jain, Cannon Design


Oliver Parks founded Parks College, the first federally certified school of aviation in the United States, in 1927, just two months after Charles Lindbergh's historic flight. In 1946, he gave Parks College to St. Louis University to ensure a broader, more academic education for future aviation leaders. In fall of 1997 the college moved into a new two-building complex that consolidated aviation science, maintenance, management, and aerospace, avionics, computer, mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering curriculum on Saint Louis University's main campus.

Organized around a soaring central lobby and interaction space, the new, 87,000 sq ft building houses teaching and research laboratories, computer facilities, an industry incubator facility, classrooms and offices. The main floor and balcony offers views into computer classrooms, a state-of-the-art engineering flight simulator lab, the Dean's suite, and radar exhibits. The central circulation spine leading from this lobby is enlivened with balconies and skylights, punctuated with interaction spaces and office suites, and features views into the campus mall and interior laboratories.

An existing 11,000 sq ft central utilities plant building is creatively renovated as an aerodynamics lab that includes three wind tunnel and water tunnel installations for supersonic modeling and testing, and aero structures and mechanical engineering laboratories.

Research opportunities for advanced materials investigation, biotechnology, and human brain-machine interfaces are located throughout the facilities. Along with the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory Building, this science and technology complex creates a dynamic, exciting, and attractive identity for a previously undistinguished northeast corner of Saint Louis University's main campus and Parks College.


Punit Jain received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Roorkee in India. He also holds a Master of Architecture degree and a Masters in Construction Management from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. With over ten years of experience in the practice of architecture, Mr. Jain is currently employed as a Senior Associate with Cannon Design, an international architectural, engineering and interior design firm. As a lead member of the team dedicated to researching technological and industry innovation in the field of science and research buildings, he is involved in the design, research and planning of complex assignments.

He is currently working on the master planning study for a new $70 million Biomedical Research building at Saint Louis University, The Kinesiology Research Center at University of Calgary, and the Biomedical Research Development Complex Project at IIT Chicago. His other project experience includes the New Mexico Highlands University Science and Technology Building in Las Vegas, NM; the Advanced Technology Center at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, FL; the University of Kentucky Health Sciences Medical Research Building in Lexington, KY; and the Master Plan and implementation of the renovation of teaching and research laboratories at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, MO.

A Rotary Foundation Scholar and winner of honor awards from the National Institute of Architectural Education, New York and the American Institute of Architects, he is an active member of the St. Louis chapter of USGBC. Mr. Jain also teaches a college course in computer graphic applications and has been instrumental in developing Cannon Design's computer-based systems for laboratory and healthcare facilities design.

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