Merit - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

Georgia Institute of Technology

Glenn and Towers Residence Halls Renovation and Addition
Georgia Institute of Technology - Glenn and Towers Residence Halls Renovation and Addition
Jury Comments
". . . there is a respectful piece that sits very quietly between the two spaces, which I found very nice . . . puts a social piece in the middle and rectifies a grade shift—done quite well . . . gives a face on the street . . . beautiful . . ."


    • Site – 2.9 acres; Building – 126,509 gsf / 75,905 asf
    • LEED Gold
    • Renovation strategies provide an easily accessible route into the buildings from surrounding public walks, making the site fully accessible for the first time.
    • Unused attic spaces were converted to bedrooms, increasing the bed count.
    • The connector building bridges quad and street landscapes and creates new ways, vertically and horizontally, to access Glenn and Towers
    • The top level of the connector serves as a living room for the entire neighborhood.
    • A lower level “Main Street” connects both halls to living- learning programming.
    • The connector building was outfitted with a large, flexibly furnished lounge and kitchen, a fitness area, an active learning classroom, and a series of group study rooms.
    •  Cost-effective upgrades to MEP systems resulted in an 18% reduction in energy consumption and a 48% reduction in water use in the halls’ first year of occupancy.


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.

Project Team

VMDO Architects; also Stevens & Wilkinson; O’Shea-Wilson Siteworks; Eberly & Associates; Palacio Collaborative; New South Construction