design challenge design solutions


Westside Hall at the University of New Haven is an on-campus, suite- style residence hall that is ... The entire project floats above a green roof that conceals 100 ...

West Side Hall | West Haven, Connecticut

category: Institutional Architecture

DESIGN CHALLENGE Westside Hall at the University of New Haven is an on-campus, suitestyle residence hall that is organized around an innovative “pod” concept. The University challenged the design team to: • Design a new residence hall that would connect directly to the campus core and tie the existing residence halls and campus infrastructure together to create a new campus hub for student activity • Create residential communities of 16 students – versus more conventionally-sized communities consisting of 30-40 students – while maintaining the targeted bed count and overall space efficiency of traditional models • Address an immediate need for additional dining and classroom space for campus-wide use by providing a broader mix of uses • Elevate the quality and organization of spaces that students encounter on a daily basis

DESIGN SOLUTIONS Working with university officials to find the right site, the architects noticed a parking lot situated at the campus edge, between some of the existing residence halls and next to the campus’ recreational fields, which offered direct sightlines and connections to the campus core. The existing parking lot sat at one full level below the adjacent recreational fields. This represented a prime location to create a new campus hub anchored to a positive function with the potential to conceal a negative one. Once the site was established the architects worked with the UNH President and stakeholders to address the changing demands of today’s students. What emerged was a need to create community at a smaller scale. The architects developed an innovative “pod” concept which relied on both familiar and unconventional components to create

communal autonomy. The design provided space to socialize, sleep, study and dine within the scope of an intimate community clustering. These “Pod” communities are comprised of 16 students centered on a hearth-like lounge. An L-shaped footprint was designed to capitalize on the existing site constraints and allowed nine singular communities per floor each with their own identity. All entries into double-occupancy dorms were connected and organized around each lounge, which proved to be effective in maximizing building efficiency. The unique distinction in the sizes and clustering of bedrooms and living spaces promoted interaction and increased levels of collaboration among students. These spaces were highlighted on the facades and translated vertically to the base of the building. During the day, the building blends in seamlessly with the university context, while at dusk the distinct colors of each community provide a vibrant show of activity within. The ground floor plan was devoted entirely to amenities for both residents and the greater University community featuring game rooms, music rooms, study lounges, two 50-seat classrooms, flex spaces for informal student gathering, a community kitchen for residents and a 270-seat dining hall to serve the entire campus. A unique system of separate entries and secure access points allow residents to enjoy all of the amenities that have become staples to campus living; a sorely needed dining hall on the west side of campus, office space for UNH personnel and 2,300 square feet of classroom space. The classroom space alleviates the need to build a new building and preserving precious resources. Similarly, by capitalizing on the grade change of the site, no parking spaces were eliminated. The entire project floats above a green roof that conceals 100 spaces while providing open space for the university at grade with the adjoining athletic fields. Outdoor dining and recreation is encouraged through generous glazing, furnishings and landscaped spaces integrated with the building’s interior layouts.

A New Hub of Campus Activity A unique living and learning center for residents and the entire campus community.

1.

Elevating above Campus Edge Parking 1. The project was built over an existing parking lot situated at the campus edge up to the level of adjacent campus recreational fields. 2. This anchored the new community to a positive function while concealing a negative one.

2.

OFFICES / ADMINISTRATIVE

CLASSROOMS STUDENT AMENITY

STAFF APARTMENTS

DINING

A Broad Mix of Uses Spaces to socialize, sleep, study and dine within the scope of intimate community groupings.

1.

Public Amenities for the Entire University Community A unique system of separated entries and secured access points allow residents and the campus at-large to enjoy building amenities: 1. The 270-seat dining hall services the entire campus. Innovative kiosks allow the student to place their order upon entry and be called when ready leaving more time for interaction and study. 2. A campus-wide accessible lounge and learning space. 2.

Private Lounge and Learning Space for Residents Resident-only amenities include a game room, community kitchen, flex spaces for informal student gathering, and mail and laundry facilities.

Creating Community at a Smaller Level “POD” living and learning spaces.

1.

2.

The “POD” Concept 1. Each “pod” is comprised on 16 students centered on a lounge/learning space. 2. All entries into double-occupancy dorms were connected and organized around each lounge/ learning space, which proved to be an effective strategy towards maximizing building efficiency. 3. The unique distinction in the sizes and clustering of living spaces promoted interaction and increased levels of collaboration among students.

3.

1.

A Green Terrace for Outdoor Recreation and Gathering 1. The entire project floats above a green roof that hides the 100 spaces while providing new recreational and gathering space for the university. 2. Outdoor activity is encouraged through generous glazing at the ground level.

2.

West Side Hall | West Haven, Connecticut

category: Institutional Architecture

DESIGN CHALLENGE Westside Hall at the University of New Haven is an on-campus, suitestyle residence hall that is organized around an innovative “pod” concept. The University challenged the design team to: • Design a new residence hall that would connect directly to the campus core and tie the existing residence halls and campus infrastructure together to create a new campus hub for student activity • Create residential communities of 16 students – versus more conventionally-sized communities consisting of 30-40 students – while maintaining the targeted bed count and overall space efficiency of traditional models • Address an immediate need for additional dining and classroom space for campus-wide use by providing a broader mix of uses • Elevate the quality and organization of spaces that students encounter on a daily basis

DESIGN SOLUTIONS Working with university officials to find the right site, the architects recommended an existing parking lot that sat at one full level below adjacent recreational fields and offered strong connections to the campus core.This represented a prime location to create a new campus hub anchored to a positive function with the potential to conceal a negative one. Working with the UNH President and stakeholders to address the changing demands of today’s students a goal emerged to create community at a smaller scale to foster more interaction. An innovative “pod” concept was developed which relied on both familiar and unconventional components to create communal autonomy. The design provided space to socialize, sleep, study and dine within the scope of an intimate community clustering.

These “Pod” communities are comprised of 16 students centered on a hearth-like lounge. An L-shaped footprint was designed to capitalize on the existing site constraints and allowed nine singular communities per floor each with their own identity. These spaces were highlighted on the facades and translated vertically to the base of the building. During the day, the building blends in seamlessly with the university context, while at dusk the distinct colors of each community provide a vibrant show of activity within. The ground floor plan was devoted entirely to amenities for both residents and the greater University. A unique system of separate entries and secure access points allow all students to enjoy an incorporated dining hall and 2,300 square feet of classroom space. The classroom space alleviates the need to build a new building and preserving precious resources. Similarly, by capitalizing on the grade change of the site, no parking spaces were eliminated. The entire project floats above a green roof that conceals 100 spaces while providing open space for the university at grade with the adjoining athletic fields. Outdoor dining and recreation is encouraged through generous glazing, furnishings and landscaped spaces integrated with the building’s interior layouts for a complete living and learning experience.

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