In mid-2005, Robert Morris College (RMC) re-examined its growing position within the educational corridor of Chicago’s South Loop, also known as “University Row,” as well as the changing face of its own student body. It realized that even though RMC is primarily a commuter college, students were spending more off-time within the college facilities of computer labs, ASSOCIATED FIRMS. Stein & Company; Larson Engineering; W.E. O`NeilCOST PER SQ FT$153.00FEATURED IN2007 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas lounges and study labs. In an effort to create a more complete college experience for the students, the administration established a program that would relocate, combine and expand its student-service areas, including computer labs, food service, recreational areas, study centers, entertainment lounges and student-information services. The main goal was to create a vibrant, lively space that would facilitate student interaction and thereby establish a greater sense of community.
The design included an expanded food-service area, TV areas, a small movie theater, electronic gaming stations, an elevated stage, pool tables, dining areas, soft seating study areas, a computer center and staff offices. In addition, the college wanted all these areas to be visible upon entering the facility.
The solution was achieved by using different materials, finishes and colors to separate functions. Area uses were arranged in a linear fashion, expanding from the highest noise production to the lowest. The space remained visually open to provide the greatest opportunity for interaction. It was the creative use of materials more than anything that made this project a success. The space is so successful that people outside the college have expressed a desire to use it.