New Living Learning Residence Hall Respects Campus Past
IUP Residential Revival Phase III – Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Designed & Managed by ROCKiT Founder Brian DiPietro while at WTW Architects
When IUP began the third phase of its living learning residence hall revival, they seized an opportunity to make the latest building the hallmark of the living learning communities through creative design and programming, all while making a grand gesture to the history of the campus.
Phase III of the Residential Revival, after consolidation of the master plan, results in two buildings on different sites on campus. Through thoughtful design, planning, and space usage, Brian was able to reconfigure the overall project from the original seven phases down to five (and eventually four).
The first, smaller building, is situated to the far southeast of campus, near an old brown brick apartment building on campus that was kept in place. In order to keep with the design decisions made in Phase II, an arts & crafts style building similar to the northern suites sits on the site, with a change in brick color to dark brown with tan accents to complement its new neighbor.
While the reduction of project phases saved the students disturbance in their daily lives on campus, it also created a much larger than average residence hall, at the center of campus for the second building. Due to the size (nearly a quarter mile long if outstretched!), it was determined that the building would house the campus’ international students. But such a large building with such a high profile location and size warrants a special design. Especially since it is across the campus green from the Old Main building (Sutton Hall).
From the Owner:
“The highly flexible common amenities centrally located at all floors continually enhance community on the floor, within the facility, and at the residential neighborhood.”
-Michael Lemasters, Executive Director Housing, Residential Living and Dining, Indiana University of PA.
The Story Behind the Design:
The second, larger building of Phase III (Wallwork Hall) struggled to fit in with campus with the design of an oversized residence hall. The solution to fit in comes from the campus’ old main building (Sutton Hall) in both form and function, serving the University’s international students as a year-round home.
The design of Wallwork Hall (right in photo above) needed to respect its neighbor to the west, Sutton Hall, the campus’ Old Main building (left in photo above). Built in 1875, Sutton Hall was once the only building on campus, and served as both academic and residence hall for the Pennsylvania Normal School (a “college” solely for the training of teachers). Many of the finer architectural features of Sutton Hall are recreated in the new residence hall. Brick quoining (the squares/zipper at the corners of the building), recessed brick at central windows, offset brick lintels (window heads), arched windows, truncated gable dormers (upper right of photo above), pairs of louvers at the gables, and white porches and railings are all incorporated into the design of Wallwork Hall. But the design more than just respects the look of the Old Main, it finds inspiration in the function as well.
The design of the massing, floor plan, and function of Wallwork Hall also respects Sutton Hall. A large, 150-person multipurpose room is located on the ground floor for central campus gatherings – in the residence halls. The central axis of the new residence hall is set to align with the centerline of Sutton Hall – in other words, they line up. Rather than create a wall against Sutton, the building is shaped like a C, with the arms opening toward Sutton. Working on a larger scale with the campus, it creates a large plaza and gathering space on the green between the two buildings, which is heavily used today. Furthermore, the opening in the C-shaped building allows for students and events from that plaza to spill over into the central courtyard of the new residence hall. And the ends, or arms, of the C facing Sutton Hall make it look like two smaller buildings, similar to Sutton Hall, facing the green.
At the back of the courtyard, a large four-story white and glass looking greenhouse connects the two buildings. Inside are a myriad of lounge spaces that exemplify living learning, a concept that could be said was heavily prevalent in the original Sutton Hall’s use.
A unique aspect of these spaces was precipitated by housing the international students. This was the inception of what Brian termed “transitional housing”. This was the solution to the age-old problem in student housing; putting students in study lounges at the beginning of the semester, or when there is a housing shortage. Instead, the study lounges are reverse engineered bedroom units, with adjacent bathrooms (including showers) and kitchens, all of which can be secured as separate rooms to be used as temporary housing. This allows the University to overbook housing, with the anticipation that there will be transfers and drop-outs, and maximizing occupancies (so that students don’t transfer to other schools because of a housing shortage). And a month into the semester, these rooms become traditional study lounges, with adjacent public toilets, kitchens, and just an extra door and programmable hardware.