Chris Jordan, a registered architect with the Project Management Department at Georgetown University, is the project manager ove

October 15, 2007 picture2_web

Chris Jordan, a registered architect with the Project Management Department at Georgetown University, is the project manager overseeing construction of the new McDonough School of Business building. For the past 21 years Chris has designed and/or managed hundreds of similar projects at Georgetown -- from housing, Medical Center construction, and Athletic Facilities projects, to large and small maintenance projects, as well as historic preservation work around the campus.

Mr. Jordan explained that, as the project manager, it is his goal to provide professional design and construction management services, and to ensure that the new construction is completed within the prescribed scope, schedule and budget parameters.

Has the new MSB building presented any difficulties, or needed any special 'treatment' as it is being built?

Before construction started, we encountered long delays in securing the required, numerous public approvals prior to permit issuance. In the early stages of the site work, we encountered below-ground obstructions while working on the foundation. Both of these issues presented substantial scheduling difficulties that we have worked aggressively to overcome.

What are the "green" aspects of the design?

The original design did not specifically strive for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is the "green" building rating system that is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

After becoming more familiar with the advantages of sustainable design, the decision was made to strive for a LEED Certified Building. Fortunately, the University originally designed the building with many LEED features in place, such as an advanced heating and cooling system and controls that target energy efficiency and meet many of the LEED requirements. We are recycling construction waste and using recycled construction materials as much as possible, selecting low-flow water fixtures, and carefully choosing the interior finishes for conformance with the numerous LEED guidelines.

Is it harder for you to "build green" or does it take the same amount of work and expense?

In many ways building a "green" building is more difficult, and, as with many things, assuring the desired result takes more effort. For example, a reflective roof is potentially worth several LEED points as it reduces the building cooling load. The building design calls for a slate roof over much of the building but no reflectivity tests for slate were ever performed. We had four slate samples tested with expectations that one of the samples would meet the minimum requirement. In the past few days, we received the test results and, unfortunately, none of the lighter color slates we had tested passed the reflectivity threshold for a LEED certified roof. The slate testing did not cost very much, but this is one example of the efforts we are making in our quest to achieve LEED certification for the new building.

If each building has its own 'personality,' can you tell us something about the 'feel' this building is developing?

This building is a very complex facility with many unique features. The atrium, with its sloping and curved five-story high, wood wall capped with a large sky light, will be a focal point for the building. The building will blend into the campus through the use of similar materials on the exterior but will also be unique with the five-story glass wall on the east and the technology intensive learning areas.

Currently, the building is surrounded by piles of construction debris. In the future, what do you envision the surrounding area will look like?

When complete the most visible parts of the building will be the south and east elevations. The south elevation with its formal entrance is mostly stone while the dominant feature on the east elevation will be the curving five-story glass wall. Once the Science Building is completed, a sloping lawn between the two buildings will add to the high visibility of the building's east face. Everyone involved with the project feels this building will be a signature building, drawing people into the space.

You've been with this project for some time now -- how will you look back on this time-period when you have completed the building?

When any project is completed, one feels a sense of pride and accomplishment. The process is re-lived in that both the positive and negative experiences one has on each project are analyzed and utilized for the benefit of future projects.

About the Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business is a premier business school located in the nation's capital. Founded in 1957 to educate undergraduate business students through the integration of liberal arts and professional education, the McDonough School today welcomes approximately 1,300 undergraduates, 620 MBA students, and more than 500 participants in its executive education programs annually. For more information about the McDonough School, visit

About Georgetown University

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in America, founded in 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll. Georgetown today is a major student-centered, international, research university offering respected undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on its three campuses. For more information about Georgetown University, visit