Project DescriptionThe addition and renovation to Penn State’s main student union, the HUB/Robeson Center, is a reimagining of a core area in the heart of the system’s main University Park campus. It represents an evolution in the role of the campus center in students’ lives and supporting their education beyond the classroom. PSU Student Affairs, the Union, Student Activities leadership and PSU students themselves envisioned ways in which the building could be instrumental in creating student success and building future leaders.
To the east and southeast, the new addition to the HUB replaces 1970’s era brutalist concrete entrances with a dramatic undulating glass-and-steel canopy that gives the whole complex an energized and exciting profile, day and night, and beckons students to enter and take part in the programs and resources that the center offers. Above the adjoining campus bookstore is Penn State’s largest publicly accessible green roof.
The design parti for the project is inspired by the campus context and its network of pathways. The new main HUB space is an urban nexus, centrally located and iconic to convey its importance in campus, academic and student life. The design concept grows out from the main “town square”, which is the gathering space beneath the glazed roof, open and active, 24/7 for students. Arrayed around the public space are a series of zones or “neighborhoods” that are tied together by a logical and visually connected flow through the building. Thus students can meet or study, alone or in groups, and still feel connected to the collegiate whole, or simply hang out in place that comfortable and filled with natural light.
The student center project developed out of a set of growth needs based on increasing enrollment. The new project allowed the University to transform how student resources and services could be accessed and provided on campus. The potential of the design demonstrated to PSU how the HUB could play a crucial role in student success.
The project was designed to exceed Penn State’s ambitious performance standards for energy conservation and sustainability goals. The addition of 50,000 SF to the existing facility created no net increase in exterior envelope or windows. With the new facade construction, the project was able to increase the insulating value of the new exterior walls and roof areas. The new building envelope incorporates high performance glazing systems for windows and skylights to provide better thermal performance and reduce solar gain.