Pratt Institute conducted an invited competition to select the architect for Stabile Hall, a new residence hall on the urban campus. Out of four finalist firms, PKSB’s design was the jury’s unanimous choice. The decision recognized the firm’s sensitivity to the specificity of the project and the Institute’s desire to create a signature building on campus. It was not simply a dorm but a dormitory for art and architecture students that conveyed Pratt’s design image on a tight budget. The design achieves its character by crafting a building with the engineering sensibility and materials of the campus.
The innovative program integrates an art studio and gallery with residential space. A fluid distribution of the studios, circulation space, and residential areas encourages shared activities and frequent interaction among students. The circulation pattern leads students through a porte-cochere at the entrance into a corridor lined by transparent, semi-private lounges leading to the dormitory units. Views into these glass-enclosed areas, half of which are equipped as studios for art and architecture, disclose the activity within and promote discussion and participation on works in progress. Because these double-height spaces are each shared between two floors, they offer opportunities for students to meet and collaborate. A large gallery above the main entrance enables students to curate exhibits or host artists-in-residence, fostering a sense of connection with the school and the professional world.
Forming the eastern edge to the Institute’s five-block campus, the building creates a transition between tree-filled yards and the surrounding urban environment. The two-story base is a long, low structure capped with an aluminum canopy that relates in scale to the landmark faculty row houses across the street. Three upper floors are stepped back and sheathed in an aluminum and glass curtain wall recalling nearby industrial buildings. A series of five-story pavilions on the eastern side contain dormitory rooms that are oriented to open courtyards created between them.