Dr. Verna & Peter Dauterive Hall is a 98,000 GSF office and classroom facility located on University of Southern California’s University Park Campus, designed to house flexible spaces for interdisciplinary social sciences research. The six-story building is constructed of structural steel moment-frames and metal decks with concrete fill. Key elements of this facility include a large central atrium to promote visual connectivity throughout the building, multi-purpose collaboration areas, dry lab research space, classrooms, meeting space, research modules for interdisciplinary institutes, administrative areas and related support spaces.

Morley Builders provided preconstruction and construction services for this project. Construction was completed in 2014. The project was awarded Best Higher Education Project by Engineering News Record in 2015.


Aligning with the strategic goal of recruiting world-class faculty, staff, and students, the Provost established a priority to create new, flexible, interactive, and interdisciplinary social sciences space for research and graduate studies. The current thinking in educational and research environments is that creating environments which foster collaboration leads to more highly effective research environments. Learning and research is becoming increasingly project-based and is often transient in nature, requiring a high degree of flexibility to accommodate the widest possible range of scenarios that may need to be supported. The ability to adapt and change over time is critical to making the facility function at the highest level. When design began on the project it was envisioned as a tool to strengthen USC’s reputation as a prominent research institution and to attract research talent to the campus. The program was based solely on the vision of USC to accomplish these goals rather than to accommodate known tenants, and to that end the design team was challenged to imagine what sort of facility would place USC at the cutting edge of collaborative, interdisciplinary research institutions. In order to maximize the useful life of the facility, Dauterive Hall is designed to accommodate the needs of various institutes that may turn over every three to five years. Flexibility is facilitated by providing workspaces of different sizes and characters, as well as by design elements such as demountable wall partitions and flexible technology. Dauterive Hall now fosters and nurtures collaboration among interdisciplinary research groups from the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, USC Marshall School of Business, USC Gould School of Law, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development and other social sciences professional schools.


Dauterive Hall consists of five stories above grade and one floor below grade with a tower that reaches a maximum height of over 100′. The plan is organized in a U-shape around an interior atrium and an exterior. The building steps back as the building rises allowing sunlight into the adjacent plaza, and the U-shaped floor plan increases the perimeter of the building in order to maximize the amount of window area and natural light in the interior. The step-backs provide exterior terraces at each level with views of the courtyard.

The exterior façade is a beautiful example of the Italian Romanesque architectural vernacular of the campus’s historic buildings, with an intricate tripartite brick and precast concrete facade, mosaic tile inset panels, detailed archways, recessed windows framed by columns, and red clay tile roof. The interior expresses a more contemporary aesthetic, utilizing clean lines and glass and light wood finishes.

The open layout emphasizes interdisciplinary interaction and flexibility. A full-height atrium is located at the center of the building with public gathering on each floor. Research, institute, administrative and classroom spaces have their entrances on this public core with the objective to draw staff out of their offices and encourage discussion and intermingling between researchers of different backgrounds in these common spaces. The open atrium allows for strong visual connections across the atrium and from one floor to another. At the base of the atrium, the ground floor and lower level are linked by a 20-foot-wide central stair that is populated with seat-height platforms that can function as small gathering spaces or turn the stair into an amphitheater. The space is illuminated by natural light from skylights and windows facing the adjacent courtyard, which make the circulation and gathering spaces around the atrium inviting areas for meetings and discussions.


For over a decade, USC has been an industry leader in developing requirements and processes for the production and use of Building Information Models (BIM) in the design, construction, and maintenance of its facilities. USC has been a strong believer in the opportunities BIM provides to vastly improve upon traditional methods of design and construction coordination to reduce the potential for costly changes, to provide multiple opportunities for user review and participation by means of 3D visualization of the project and specialty spaces, and to reduce design and construction schedule durations. In addition, BIM creates opportunities for reusing data for multiple purposes, including the operation and maintenance of USC’s facilities. However, USC recognized early that in order to achieve these ends, the BIM process must be carefully structured to achieve the required purposes, as follows:  

  • Establishing a collaborative environment and a collaborative use of the BIMs during the design and construction process where the Designers, Contractor, subcontractors and Owner work together with a proactive approach to issue resolution.  Under the most collaborative of environments, the number of RFI’s generated can be significantly reduced as the team resolves many issues in face‐to‐face or web‐based meetings.          

  • Leveraging the BIMs to the fullest extent possible to shorten the construction schedule and reduce construction costs. This would include reviewing the BIMs with users and Facilities Management Services (FMS) personnel to ensure that all key personnel understand what the final product will look like and that accesses and clearances meet their expectations. The fewer surprises, the less likely there will be change orders down the line.         

  • Ensuring that the “I” in BIM is fully represented in the data provided by the Building Information Models and that the data delivered is COBie compliant.   

The timing of the design and construction of Dauterive Hall aligned perfectly with the maturation of USC’s overall BIM vision. BIM was utilized throughout the project lifecycle, including the following:

  • Detailed Joint BIM Execution Plan developed in collaboration between HKS Architects and Morley Builders in order to define the scope of BIM usage on the project.   

  • Concept design work using what was then Google Sketchup (now owned by Trimble).

  • 3D underground utilities construction coordination, which is still an unusual practice in the industry.

  • Construction documents produced from fully-detailed Revit design models.

  • 3D architectural, structural, and MEP construction coordination, including exterior skin coordination, utilizing Navisworks.       

  • Material fabrication from BIM, including precast concrete panel molds and HVAC ductwork.       

  • “Model Mash-Up” process, in which the design models were updated to reflect any changes that occurred during the construction phase in order to provide accurate record models for building operation and maintenance (O&M).        

  • Population of COBie data throughout the record models using the EcoDomus common data environment.        

  • Management of planned and unplanned maintenance by USC’s Facilities Management Services department using EcoDomus FM.