The design goal was to reinforce the student center’s sense of place as the town square and heart of the campus community. Project achievements include:
•Establishing a wayfinding icon for the campus, guiding pedestrian and vehicular circulation to the student center.
•Creating a place that encourages student interaction and provides facilities for student events COST PER SQ FT$188.15FEATURED IN2008 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation services.
•Building an environment that speaks to permanence of place, consistent with the architectural themes and materials used on campus.
•Building in harmony with the outdoor living opportunities of the site.
Spanning nearly 287,000 square feet, the project more than doubled the size of the original student center, with two food courts, a convenience store, a pub, triple the conference and meeting space, and a grand ballroom large enough to accommodate a crowd of 1,130. The project’s “architectural metaphor” is Venice’s grand plaza, with grand stairs and the placement of five towers to orient its inhabitants. The center serves as a cultural heart for the campus and reinforces the sense of community by promoting civic nature and lively interaction of students, conference participants, faculty, staff and visitors.
The materials and rich color palette complement the newer existing buildings on campus. Exterior materials consist of brick veneer with stone and precast concrete accents with some ceramic-tile accents. Specialty finishes include horizontal metal fins, and blue and gold glazed porcelain tiles to celebrate the university’s collegiate colors. The project is likely to receive LEED silver certification.
The contract was awarded during one of the highest periods of cost escalation in the past two decades. Partnering and collaboration mitigated the challenges associated with cost escalation, and helped to deliver a cost-effective and high-quality environment to serve the campus.