American University, Mary Graydon Student Center

Washington, District of Columbia

  • FIRM

    Sorg Architects


    American University, Facilities PLanning and Development

  • AREA

    30,000 sq.ft.





At American University, the architect provided design services for the Mary Graydon Student Center. This renovation project entailed gutting and reconfiguring the entire second floor, approximately 30,000 square feet.

No significant renovations had occurred for 20 years. The maze-like organization of spaces, long corridors, and lack of natural light produced dark ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$100.00FEATURED IN2002 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYStudent Centers/Service Areas confining offices that dominated the center, leaving no place for students to gather.

From the project’s conception, students became the primary focus that established the overall theme. The strikingly bold forms and energetic look reflect the student’s desires, as well as those of myriad diverse student-related organizations.

The design concept maximized natural daylighting possibilities by taking full advantage of two existing roof courts and introducing frosted glass panels. The abstract/modern design embraced a bold color palette and combined simple building materials, such as multicolored, stained birch veneer plywood with high-tech cyber cafe TV monitors.

Everyone at the university raves about their new student lounge area, conference rooms, cyber cafe and offices.