Balancing Energy, Health, and Quality of Space at CMU's New Scaife Hall

Jeremy Snyder, Buro Happold Engineering
Brendan Miller, KieranTimberlake

Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) College of Engineering (CIT) has placed significant curricular focus on developing a comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and integrated set of maker resources to facilitate faculty and student research. This maker-ecosystem formalizes CIT's aspiration to encourage and enable the development of new ideas, concepts, and products.

Scaife Hall serves as a new campus gateway to CMU and places CIT on display to the broader campus. It consists of 85,000 GSF of state-of-the-art wet, dry, and BSL-2 laboratories, classrooms, offices, and social spaces. The building's massing embeds the most consumptive spaces into the hillside to facilitate ground-coupling and prevent unwanted daylight penetration into the laboratories. The HVAC narrative builds on this approach through advanced filtration/purification, use of variable/low flow fume hoods, and high-efficiency sensible heat recovery in the laboratory exhaust systems. The above-grade masses that house the department's public spaces, classrooms, and offices are optimized for daylighting and access to natural ventilation.

The building facilitates reduced energy consumption while maintaining high levels of occupant comfort. These strategies support the university's goal of creating healthy and environmentally sensitive working environments that support a culture of innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how integrated design with an Engineering Department's vision can create a best-in-class lab building for students, faculty and staff;
  • Understand how air purification systems can be used to improve indoor air quality while maintaining appropriate pressure differentials in a mixed use lab building;
  • Understand how to holistically take a complex program of elements, organize them in a meaningful way, and maintain separation where required and collaboration where desired; and
  • Understand how user control is an important part of the health and sustainability story of a building that better serves its users.


Jeremy Snyder is a partner and trained MEP engineer who has been with Buro Happold for nearly 20 years. He has extensive experience in higher education projects, including many laboratory, flex labs, and maker spaces at Carnegie Mellon University. He has a passion for sustainable, low impact design that maximizes user comfort and experience.

Brendan Miller is an Associate at KieranTimberlake, an award-winning research and architecture firm based in Philadelphia. His focus and attention to detail enables him to deliver well-crafted projects that meet the clients' ideals and reflects KieranTimberlake's commitment to environmental stewardship. Brendan is the project architect for the Allan Magee Scaife Hall for Engineering at CMU.


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