News

New building targeted for research

Courtesy Brian Haus
Expected to be completed by summer 2013, the new building will feature the world’s first wind-and-wave tunnel capable of producing Category 4 hurricane-force winds.
“The wind tunnel will allow us to test how buildings survive in a combination of storm surge and wind,” said William Drennan, RSMAS’ associate dean of undergraduate education.
By building model structures in the tunnel, scientists can see what parts of the structures are the weakest, which will allow for more effective designs of buildings in hurricane-prone areas like South Florida, Drennan said.
Brian Haus, an associate professor of applied marine physics, said the complex could improve the defects of the mathematical aspects of building design.
“The formulations for those things are based on data collected at much slower speeds,” Haus said. “There are a lot of things that happen very differently when you pass a certain threshold of wind speed.”
Hurricanes represent a great cost to coastal areas. Hurricane Wilma, which struck South Florida in 2005, caused an estimated $20.6 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The building will replace two aging facilities that will soon be demolished, according to Gary Hitchcock, director of RSMAS’ undergraduate program. There is no set date for construction to begin.
Seawater will be pumped in through the system and channeled underground to the wind-and-wave tunnel to simulate storm conditions, Hitchcock said.
To let seawater in, there will be a pumping and distribution system close to the bay.
Of the $47 million required to build the complex, $15 million is coming from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The new building is to be LEED certified, indicating environmental friendliness.
Aside from labs, the complex will have additional rooms for meetings, Hitchcock said.
Though initial testing has begun, the groundbreaking date will depend on the result of public forums to be held in late February.
“I’ve been very enthusiastic and excited, but it’s been a very long period of design,” Haus said. “For those of us that have been intimately involved in the project for years now, things are moving forward, but we’re waiting.”
Although the project is not yet completed, Drennan is optimistic about its future impact.
“It’s the first new building we’ve had in 35 years,” Drennan said. “It’ll really change the campus.”
Gustavo Marques, a second-year Ph.D. student, is excited about the new project.
“It’s cool,” he said. “Scientists are going to be able to innovate new models.”
February 8, 2012

Reporters

Kevin Sands


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “New building targeted for research”

  1. O. Comas says:

    Very nice. As a design professional I would have liked the architect and landscape architect to be mentioned in the article. Very nice design, congratulations.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami running back Mark Walton was rolling — until he got rolled on, or stepped on. Wa ...

University of Miami safety Sheldrick Redwine got to wear the gaudy (but beautiful to Canes and their ...

This just in: University of Miami at Florida State will kick off in Tallahassee at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. ...

For those concerned about the apparent on-field struggles of graduate transfer Dee Delaney, an All-A ...

This week’s Top 25 college-affiliated football polls, released Sunday afternoon, agreed on how to ta ...

UM students fan out across South Florida to help local neighborhoods rebound from the impacts of Hur ...

Classes resume on the Coral Gables campus after the removal of 4 million pounds of landscape debris. ...

Students living in residential housing are returning to campus and classes with renewed resolve. ...

UM’s student-run ’Canes Emergency Response Team puts their training into action to assist with recov ...

UM students recount how they rode out the storm called Hurricane Irma. ...

University of Miami women's golfer Dewi Weber wasted little time this season in adding to her a ...

The University of Miami's football game at Florida State on Oct. 7 will kick off at 3:30 p.m. E ...

Walton rushes for career-high 204 yards and Rosier has four touchdowns in Miami's comeback vict ...

The University of Miami volleyball team outlasted Virginia, 3-2, in Atlantic Coast Conference action ...

Junior golfer Dewi Weber highlighted second round action for the University of Miami women's go ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.