Plymouth State University’s new LEED gold-certified Langdon Woods Residence Hall is designed in organic relationship with site topography and the surrounding woodlands and wetlands. The volumes of the two buildings—a 218-bed sophomore building and 129-bed upper-class building—are positioned to conform both to the slope of the nine-acre site and to the path of the sun, CAPACITY347COST PER SQ FT$217.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio daylighting to all living spaces. Glass connectors between building volumes provide common areas on each floor and enhance the facility’s integration with the environment by creating views into and through the building.
Building heights are kept as low as possible to maintain existing site conditions and views. Together, the buildings border a south- and west-facing common space and existing woodland with a view of an adjacent stream. This common space functions as the terminus of a pathway connecting to lodge housing and the main campus to the south.
Similar in spirit to natural environments, the building facades incorporate elements embodying both stimulation and stasis. Syncopated arrangements of operable and fixed windows interspersed with infill panels within inset linear wood strips on each floor vitalize the building envelope. Irregularly angled mullion grids in curtainwall areas and vertical aluminum fins form jagged networks and shadows evocative of a wooded landscape.
The project’s sustainable-design elements include energy-efficient building systems, low-emissivity insulating glass, heat recovery, sustainable plantings, stormwater treatment and sustainable materials.
Design workshops sparked the enthusiasm of students and faculty, and sustainable design and LEED have been incorporated into course curricula and the university’s mission.