Fellows Hall is the first Net-Zero energy dormitory at Williams College. It serves the Center for Development Economics (CDE) program, an accelerated graduate course for mid-career professionals from developing countries. The building shares a prominent site at the campus entrance with historic Saint Anthony Hall, academic home of the CDE. The carbon neutral design centers around student well-being, with an emphasis on natural light, connection to nature and balancing privacy with a sense of community.
The dorm is organized into three distinct volumes to create a more residential scale: an iconic double-height central commons and two asymmetric wings that house paired single-occupancy rooms. The 2-story north-south facing wings optimize daylight while minimizing heat gain. Triple-glazed operable windows offer expansive views of the surrounding landscape, inviting students to step outdoors. Daylight modeling determined the exact orientation of each dorm wing and ideal window areas. Glazing on east-west facades was limited. A balanced 22% window-to-wall ratio contributes to the thermal comfort and energy efficiency of the building. The predominantly wood framed structure decreases the embodied carbon of the dorm. Multi-level student lounges intersect with the central, open stair, minimizing built area while providing a range of opportunities for social interaction. Earth-themed finishes create warmth.
The dorm is fully electric. The PV-cell supporting roof, required to achieve net-zero energy, was accentuated to evoke a sheltering feeling of “home” for international students, far from their own families. Heating and cooling are provided via ground-source heat pumps supported by geothermal wells. Rooms feature LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and efficient valence units. The super-insulated brick-clad envelope is designed to rigorous Passive House standards.
A new ecological courtyard, landscaped with raingardens, native plants, ornamental trees and shrubs attractive to birds and butterflies, encourages interaction with CDE students and enhances the campus experience for the entire Williams community.