SOM has completed the construction of Hopper Hall, the first cyber studies building for the U.S. Armed Forces. Construction of the hall started four years ago and is based at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) campus in Annapolis, Maryland.
SOM decided to keep Hopper Hall contextual in its massing and design so that it can blend into a mix of architectural styles at the USNA campus which ranges from Beaux-Arts to modernism. The academic building has a gridded precast façade that is similar to the neighboring Nimitz Library. The two buildings have almost the same height.
Due to the Hall’s location along the Severn River, security requirements dictated facade and programmatic arrangement. The foundation is laid at an area that has high chances of flooding and blast with the ground floor hosting the aquatic lab which comprises of the Shared Waterfront Activities Lab and Surface and Underwater Robotics Facility. Sensitive operations like data centers, offices, classrooms, and research facilities are hosted on higher floors.
In a statement, SOM design partner Colin Koop said the structure is sensitive to the surrounding context in terms of observing architectural principles. He added that the building has also incorporated features of its time including outdoor space.
Hopper Hall will host four academic departments i.e Weapons Robotics Controls, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Cyber Science. In addition, the structure comes with a dedicated space for guest lectures and events.
SOM worked with Turner Construction Company to redesign a two-story 6,000-square-foot pass-through that was named the “Bridge”. The space can be used to host events when needed. The Bridge is covered by full-height windows on both ends giving unobstructed views of the river from the entrance.
In addition to being the first cyber studies building for the U.S. Armed Forces, Hopper Hall is also the first major building to be named after a woman at a U.S. service academy. It was named after late Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming.