The Mori Hosseini Student Union at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. © Chad Baumer Photography

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Mori Hosseini Student Union



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural and connection engineering services for a new four-story student union building. Serving as the center of campus life for the entire university community, the 178,000-square-foot building contains a student convention center, a library, a cafeteria and other food service venue, student government quarters, common areas and offices.

The building roof, inspired by birds in flight, consists of a double-curved steel-framed surface supported by a central spine girder and a series of wing beams. The spine girder, composed of two laced wide flange shapes side by side, runs along the full length of the building footprint, cantilevers approximately 50 feet and extends beyond the façade. Similarly, the wing beams are also cantilevered outwards creating the overhang portion of the roof. Both the spine girder and the wing beams are deflection controlled by the external arches and vertical struts. The arches are four feet deep built-up boxed girders. The Thornton Tomasetti team used 3D Tekla modeling to map out the complicated steel connections that were exposed to view and the curvature of the building materials in the roof.

The interior commons is a four-story open space containing an atrium and stepped seated areas overlooking the ground level lobby. Limited columns required extensive coordination for lateral brace frame layouts, gravity framing and foundation design.

Iliana Karagiannakou served as project engineer for the project.

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