The new Engineering and Computer Science West (ECSW) building at the University of Texas at Dallas, a dazzling glass and metal structure with soaring ceilings and huge interior windows offering views into each lab, was designed by faculty and staff to showcase engineering in action and inspire the next generation of engineers.
This inspiration now begins outside the building with its striking modern facade, and continues into the lobby where an ultrawide, fine pixel pitch NanoLumens ENGAGE Series LED Display greets students with dramatic imagery from campus and the surrounding city interspersed with creative visuals.
The building, which opened last fall, added 200,000 square feet of labs, classrooms and office space to the fast-growing Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. It features glass walls and open ceilings that turn the building’s inner workings into educational opportunities while presenting a unique, ultra-modern aesthetic. Although the faculty didn’t choose the NanoLumens display specifically to show off a leading technology company’s engineering prowess, its design did play a role in its selection. According to Blake Overton, Account Executive at technology integration and design firm SKC Communications, the original plan wasn’t to use LED at all, but NanoLumens technology ended up being the ideal solution.
“The architecture included a recessed wall in the lobby, and plans specified a 3-panel-high by 6-panel-wide LCD video wall to fit in it,” Overton explained. “But when we considered the difficulty of servicing a recessed video wall and the competitive pricing of NanoLumens LED displays that can be serviced from the front, it was clear LCD would not provide the best value or most reliable operation.”
In the end, the engineering and design of the NanoLumens LED display made it a superior choice. Because each display is custom built with small LED tiles called Nixels™ that combine seamlessly, they can be constructed in any size or shape, as was required here to fit the existing recess. The front-serviceable design, another benefit of its tile-based construction, combined with an industry-leading six-year warranty, helped convince the decision makers that a NanoLumens display would be the most creative, reliable and cost-effective solution.
“The fact is if a piece of the NanoLumens display fails or malfunctions, we can repair or replace it in 5 minutes,” Overton added. “On a rear-service, recessed LCD wall, it could take an entire day to complete the same maintenance. When we ran the math on expected service costs and the extra two years of warranty versus other LED manufacturers, NanoLumens was the clear choice, all-around.”
That’s to say nothing of the incredible brightness, clarity, saturation and picture quality of the 23.5-foot-wide by 6-foot-tall, 1.6mm pixel pitch display, which is even visible from outside the building.
“This is designed to be an exciting feature of the lobby, and whether they intended to or not, the school chose a technology solution that can visibly demonstrate the power of engineering in manufacturing and technological development,” Overton said.
The building’s design was inspired by other universities’ modern glass architecture, and faculty have been vocal about their belief that an exciting building with unique design and flashy modern technologies can help to excite students and positively impact learning and creativity.
For Eric Seigler, NanoLumens Regional Sales Director, this installation points to a growing trend on college and university campuses across the country and around the world.
“This is the second LED wall UT Dallas has deployed with the help of SKC,” Seigler noted, “and many other campuses are realizing the benefits of fine-pitch LED over alternate digital display technologies. As the number of installations grows, providing new possibilities including outdoor daytime viewing areas and custom shaped and curved displays, institutions will increasingly look to NanoLumens to engineer and deliver the best displays in the world. It’s especially fitting for our leading technology to adorn the entrance of a new engineering school where students have an innate appreciation for quality engineering and design.”
“Having the opportunity to once again tackle a premier institution with SKC was a treat for NanoLumens,” Seigler continued. “This display brings our total with SKC in just the higher education sector alone up to 6 deployments. SKC has demonstrated a tremendous ability to educate their clientele on the benefits not only of LED, but NanoLumens specifically, which has led to a growing demand for SKC/NanoLumens partnership in the higher education sector with many more to come.”
The new facilities include high-bay wet and dry labs that support three specialty research areas: energy, robotics, and nanotechnologies and biotechnologies, with additional labs for core research equipment. The high bays offer students a unique opportunity to test and evaluate large structures and learn about the resultant vibrations and dynamics.
The courses offered in the building provide hands-on experience in mechanics, materials, fluids, heat transfer, control systems, computer-aided design, mechatronics and robotics. Each lab has a full glass wall, allowing other students and faculty to view work in progress and help foster an open, collaborative environment.