Abilene Christian University Halbert-Walling Research Center


Abilene Christian University


Construction Cost

Completion Date

Project Size
54,000 SF

WPM performed analyses using Grasshopper visual programming within the Rhino 3D modeling package to develop the hidden support system.

Abilene Christian University Halbert-Walling Research Center


The new research center is part of a three-phase plan to upgrade the science facilities on campus. Not only does it bring new laboratories, classrooms, lecture space and state-of-the-art equipment to the school, but it also adds a signature, modern edifice that stands out among the stately buildings that populate the Abilene Christian University (ACU) campus.

Walter P Moore designed a framing system to support the architect’s vision of a striking exterior and column-free interior lobby space. Throughout the project, the use of steel enabled our team to develop innovative solutions to support the expansive glass façade, thin roof profile and a prominent “floating” interior structure. This eye-catching, two-story pod appears to float above the first floor. It includes auditorium and collaboration spaces as well as a corridor that wraps around the perimeter of the structure. A 6-ft-tall glass handrail runs along the edge of the pod, providing an airy, open walkway which necessitated a combination of hidden hangers and cantilevers.

The success of the project hinged upon close cooperation within a team that worked together on solutions from preliminary design stages through construction, keeping in mind the shared goal of reaching both aesthetic and performance expectations. Recognizing these end goals and striving to integrate solutions throughout the design process was crucial, as was viewing the process holistically. Tthe result is a research center that serves as a campus icon not only for its aesthetic appeal, but also for the competitive educational advantages it brings to ACU’s students and faculty.