Preexisting site conditions at Glenn and Towers—home to over 600 freshmen—made circulation and accessibility a serious challenge for students and visitors. Because of a steep grade change, the quad was completely cut off from the surrounding campus, leaving it disjointed and largely forgotten. Previous studies identified the concept of physically linking the two halls together but in ways that would compromise their historic integrity. New construction needed to provide an easily accessible route into the buildings from the public walks bounding the site. The design of a glass-wrapped connector building—situated between the two residence halls—provides graceful vertical access from the street to the quad and into each of the formerly inaccessible historic buildings, bridges quad and street landscapes for the first time, and creates new paths for accessing the residence halls. This strategy has resulted in increased use of public spaces as well as improved safety, security, and convenience.
The new design improves connectivity and removes barriers to the way students interact. The connector building supports and showcases a nearly endless combination of student activities. Glenn and Towers are connected through a lower level corridor that ties new and renovated spaces together underground. The impact of this coordinated circulation is seen in the increased use of the shared facilities across all three buildings. Innovative updates of existing residential areas were also developed. For instance, seven new student rooms were designed in each attic dormer, which was previously unused and unmonetized space.
VMDO Architects; also Stevens & Wilkinson; O’Shea-Wilson Siteworks; Eberly & Associates; Palacio Collaborative; New South Construction