Acting as a gateway to the Hillside District, the new $42 million, 429-bed Hillside Hall by LLB Architects is a dynamic new model for residential housing at the University of Rhode Island. The 120,000 square-foot structure remains permeable at the ground level to enhance the cross–campus ties and pedestrian inter-connectivity while maintaining universal accessibility. Two bar-shaped wings are sited along the sloping hillside and connected by a glass bridge which houses stacked sky lounges and a monumental circulation stair. Light floods the interior and is animated with a rhythmic pattern of colored glass, creating a diverse array of shadows that constantly change.
The organizing principle of the design merges the two primary grids of the campus plan that are thoughtfully woven together to create unique cantilevers, ledges, and intersections. The two residential wings are cranked and cracked open to allow natural light into the double-loaded corridor which terminate with transparent glazing. These moments at the grid intersections become group and collaborative study lounges for the freshmen and sophomore student residents in pharmacy, nursing, and international programs, part of a Living and Learning Community. The configuration of bedroom clusters around these lounges promotes a sense of identity and community within the larger complex, reinforcing the social fabric of Hillside Hall within the residential district.
The most effective and economical methods to achieve a green building comes from a holistic approach to sustainability. LLB Architects integrated solar hot water system, exterior sun shading and sun screens, operable windows for maximized natural ventilation, light reflecting roofing materials with demonstration green roof, a rigorously designed and engineered building envelope with maximum insulation and materials chosen for high recycled content obtained regionally. All uphill water is captured in a series of rain gardens that collect and filter water through a sequence of above ground water retention basins. Permeable pavers, reflective site materials, and extensive new site plantings all contribute to a truly sustainable landscape. Slated for LEED Gold, the project is setting new standards for environmentally friendly residence hall construction.
This project was done in association with associate architect Mackey Mitchell Architects; site plan and landscape design by Carol R. Johnson Associates; photography by Paul Burk Photography and Warren Jagger Photography.