We had one main design goal for this building: to create an unforgettable student environment. Being the first project of this size to be built on campus in over 50 years, change was eminent. Based on four design principles developed to the needs of our client, we were able to create our goal of an unforgettable experience.
•Redefine and enhance the student experience by promoting learning through interaction with leveraged use of formal and informal learning spaces.
•Create vibrancy and renewal through revitalized and exciting architecture that can extend throughout the complex, compelling higher levels of satisfaction and achievement.
•Celebrate student life by providing diverse function, activity, and community space for a globally minded, 24/7 student and customer.
•Initiate a transformative, world-class model of the residential experience with accessibility, sustainability, and stewardship principles that will support a diverse population of students and customers.
The scope of the project included the renovation of classrooms/offices for faculty, and new dining/student life services for 3,000 individuals. The food service renovation included expansion of the existing kitchen and the introduction of individual food service venues with corresponding dining, study, and gather areas. Also included was the upgrading of life safety systems, improving accessibility, maximizing mechanical and electrical system efficiencies, minimizing utility consumption, and abatement of hazardous materials.
One of the biggest challenges during this project was that this two-story hall stands in the center of a six building, four-story, residence hall complex. Because of this, the dining services were required to remain operational for the duration of the project to serve 3,000 students. As a result, the construction schedule was phased and a temporary kitchen was carefully located on the first floor while the second floor food services were renovated. Once the food services were back on line, the first floor academic spaces were renovated.
The design of the building was developed to be a gateway for the campus. The roof and floor plan fold open in cohesion to create entrances that welcome in the community. The glass facade serves as a portrait to the campus, showcasing various subjects and elements within the space. This facade also features sun shades to reduce solar heat gain and the amount of artificial lighting needed. As one traverses beyond the entrance space, the elliptical copper “Grotto” becomes a vantage point, serving as the most intimate space within the public realm. Within this space, small pockets of areas for informal student study are highlighted. Also in this space houses the more functional spaces such as the kitchen prep area. In these interior zones the roof slices to reveal natural light and outdoor views.
The outcome of this space has been successful in enhancing diverse student living and learning experiences. It has become a destination for students and visitors on campus.