Public universities are experiencing increased enrollment based on the economic value. Historically, many of these students would have been commuters, but many campuses today are shifting toward residential campuses. Students in turn are being attracted to these campuses where they can live on campus for a fuller higher education experience. A new residence hall at Bridgewater State University called George A. Weygand Hall, designed by the Boston office of Perkins+Will, just opened to house 500 students. The building embodies several new campus design trends as well as the campus-wide health and counseling center.
“What’s special is that the residence life staff wanted to integrate a learning environment into the living arrangement – single and double beds but with seminar and meeting spaces within the building for them to collaborate on a class, or a cultural group or social action,” says Beth Moriarty, Director of Residence Life and Housing at Bridgewater State University. “This is definitely a growing trend – more integration between the classroom and the residence hall.”
Gone are the days when students withdrew to their rooms to study alone or at the library in a carrel. Today, colleges and universities are encouraging students to collaborate more to solve problems, expand their learning and building supportive communities around everything from classwork to affinity groups. Perkins+Will designed Weygand Hall with an emphasis on these spaces.
"For us sustainability is essential," says Edward Adelman, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State College Building Authority. "Efficient buildings not only reduce resource consumption and emissions, but cost less to operate. This, in turn, reduces the long term cost of ownership and future student rent increases due to utility prices. The zero net energy study helped to identify ways in which we could design and operate the building to reduce energy consumption." Perkins+Will worked with the Massachusetts State College Building Authority to conduct a Zero Net Energy Building study, which resulted in several innovative energy saving strategies.