Project DescriptionOriginally built in the mid 1960's, the 15 story, 152,000 square foot residence towers were tired and depressing. Being out-dated dormitories, the university was concerned that the student population may move off-campus to spaces that would better fit their lifestyles. The main goal of the project was to create the best living experience for students and encourage them to stay living on campus. In addition to a complete replacement of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, each of the two fifteen story residence halls received completely new interior and dramatically updated, more efficient exterior envelopes. Each building contains thirteen stories of living space divided into a combination of one, two, or five bedroom units, each with their own modern kitchen and bathroom. The exterior balconies, which went mostly unused and made the university quite nervous, have been closed in as part of the interior space. This adaptation results in more usable interior space, valuable to both the students and the university.
When originally constructed, the buildings overlooked a large parking lot, and thus did little to showcase the view with their narrow windows. However, years ago that parking lot was replaced by the main campus green, creating a lush park-like setting for the buildings. With the complete replacement of the building façades, floor-to-ceiling glass now creates the sense of sitting within a park on the lower floors and presents beautiful vistas of the campus green from the upper floors. The glass walls make the relatively small spaces of the residence halls seem much more expansive, which has allowed the university to place more students within each unit.
Concurrent with the renovation of the buildings, an upgrade to the surrounding site also took place as a part of a larger Master Plan, by the architect. An imperative of the Master Plan recognizes the necessity for pedestrian connectivity through the site. The improvements to the green generated in this project will link the ‘Campus Green’ pedestrian paths to the ‘podium’ which the residence halls sit upon. A common design language of materials, hardscaping, landscaping, and lighting will continue from the Campus Green through the residential hall site. Various types of outdoor gathering spaces were important to incorporate, from social to quiet study spaces, which tie together the student body with the renovated site.
The exterior image of the building has become a glowing beacon at the termination of the campus green. When the first of two residence halls became available to students in the Spring of 2013, the previously undesirable residence tower sold out the 464 beds available in only three days.