Jonathan Ramsey AIA

Jonathan Ramsey AIA

Des Moines, IA, US


Troxel Hall

Troxel Hall is a new 400-seat high-performance active learning facility located at a significant and visible location on the Iowa State University campus.  The auditorium was designed to serve primarily chemistry and other liberal arts and sciences departments.  In a year since it’s opening, it has quickly become a popular teaching space; it is currently booked for classes from eight to five, Monday through Friday.  Due to the success of the building, it has also emerged as a popular venue for events including: orientation activities; lecture series; and student, faculty and staff large group meetings. 

Following directives from the donor, Troxel Hall was designed with two key purposes in mind: to incorporate cutting-edge teaching technologies into a flexible and engaging large class learning environment and to integrate high performance sustainable strategies into the fabric of the building.  

There are a number of elements that contribute to the performance of the learning environment. The tier arrangement and swivel seating encourage and promote interaction among students.  Additional aisles and space between seats allow easy access of instructors to the student workgroups.  Eleven separate doors into the auditorium create a wide dispersion of students, allowing seamless class transitions.  This gets students in seats prepared to learn more quickly, improving the quality of teaching time.  Underfloor air distribution delivers low-velocity tempered air and improved ventilation where the occupants reside, moderating temperature fluctuations, reducing fan loads and allowing for more moderate, less energy intense supply air temperatures.

The pre-function and lobby spaces within Troxel Hall provide studying and gathering areas for students before and after class, including access to monitors for individual and group study as a continuation of the collaborative teaching methodology.  These spaces were designed to provide an inviting and comfortable environment that engages with the active campus surroundings.  Daylight is carefully mediated by strategic sun shading elements, reducing glare and significantly limiting the need for artificial lighting.  Exposed concrete slabs with radiant heating and cooling provide durable surfaces that enhance occupant comfort, particularly in highly glazed spaces. 

The project earned LEED Gold Certification and has been verified with one year of energy data to use 34% less energy than the equivalent ASHRAE 2010 baseline building.

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Status: Built
Location: Ames, IA, US
My Role: Project Manager | Project Architect
Additional Credits: BNIM
Iowa State University