TAMU Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics
Walter P Moore provided all structural and civil engineering services for the new Physics Department Building and the Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University.
The five-story George P. and Cynthia Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, provides auditorium — named for Stephen Hawking — seminar and office space. The facility features a five-story interior atrium displaying a Foucault Pendulum.
The structural design includes special provisions to mitigate floor vibrations that would otherwise potentially jeopardize research activities in the building, including “floating slabs” in several research labs and a stiffner floor structure in all research labs. The structural concrete framing system selected for the project is designed and detailed to economically meet the stringent vibration criteria set by the University. Typical research lab areas are designed to meet a maximum vibrational velocity of 2,000 mips, while the structure for one specialized lab is designed with a floating slab to meet a vibrational velocity criteria of 250 mips.
In accordance with the campus master plan, these facilities were designed with environmentally sustainable features to minimize the environmental impacts caused by its construction and to reduce life cycle operational costs.