Completing the Largest On-Campus Housing Replacement Project in the US – A Huge Accomplishment!
IUP Residential Revival Phase IV – Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Designed & Managed by ROCKiT Founder Brian DiPietro while at WTW Architects
When it was finished, the fourth and final phase of the Residential Revival resulted in the largest on-campus replacement student housing in the United States.
Like the previous phases before it, Phase IV of the new living learning residence halls at IUP consolidated sites and buildings to reduce disruptions due to construction. Combining two buildings into one, it reduces the overall project from what was once seven phases down to four. It also completes the realignment of the campus’ pedestrian circulation – allowing for a new, ADA accessible route reaching from the Student Union at the northernmost point on campus to the far south, at the Eberly Business College and surrounding recreation fields.
As part of the termination of the new circulation path, a bridge that once connected Eberly Business College to the previous residence halls was demolished, with a new building entry design to complement the existing building.
From the Owner:
“As a result of our partnership with your team and during a period of financial and demographic challenges, our University has achieved the following:
• The new student housing has re-energized our campus and achieved nearly 90% engagement by on-campus students in living/learning programs.
• Faculty, staff, and student satisfaction with residential facilities and programs have improved dramatically, and student enrollment and retention are at all-time highs!
• We continually receive compliments from other universities across the country regarding the innovative planning and implementation of our ‘Residential Revival. ”
– W.Thomas Borellis, Director, Office of Student Housing Development, Indiana University of PA.
The Story Behind the Design:
To avoid another massive building on campus, the design of the last residence hall breaks the building in two halves, linked by a central hinge-like building that houses the combined building’s living learning elements, acting as a beacon of light and education at the terminus of the new campus circulation path.
While fresh off designing a large residence hall (718 beds) in the previous phase, the goal of the final phase wasn’t to create another juggernaut of a building. The idea is to build two smaller buildings, but in order to save room on campus and eliminate another phase, it had to be built as one to fit on the site. The problem is that one building would cut-off the newly ADA accessible circulation path across campus. So, it’s designed as look as two buildings, and maintain the smaller scale, residential feel for campus, but built as one. Between the two “buildings” is the hinge or link, where the two buildings pivot, each building/wing parallel to its respective road. With the main campus circulation running down the middle of the “building”, recreation is located on each side – basketball courts with built-in seating/bleachers to one side, and a more passive green space on the other.
This hinged effect has several benefits to the design. By locating the pinch point and hinge at the south, it funnels and focuses traffic to the south, which is the southern termination for the new campus circulation. It also allows the buildings to spread apart to the north, opening up to and embracing the rest of campus. Designing the “hinge” as a literal bridge or link between the two, it allows for yet another winding/ADA accessible system of ramps and stairs to pass underneath the new singular building to reach its final destination. The unique round metal and glass look gives the appearance of something very different and special from the attached residence halls. Playing off of this look, the rest of the building takes on a more contemporary/modern look, and metallic barrel vaults instead of gables complement the rounded hinge that is the focal point of the design. It also gives the image of a shining beacon of education (where the living learning components were housed), putting the entire idea of living learning on display as the focal point of the building, and southern terminus of the campus. You could say it is the crowning achievement to the overall project.