This summer’s new campus buildings run the gamut from underwhelming to over the top—way, way over the top, in the case of the University of Oregon’s Football Performance Center. Planned and paid for by Phil Knight, a founder of Nike, it looks more like an ultra-exclusive resort than a campus athletic facility.
But most buildings opening in time for the fall semester are, if not exactly modest, at least more clearly suited to college students. Here’s a selection of what’s new, including academic buildings, residence halls, and, in Maine, a sleek museum addition.
Not every institution has seen things go exactly according to plan, by the way. At Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., workers raced to finish both a new academic building by Robert A.M. Stern and the renovation of an adjoining student center in time for the return of students (the big rush was to get the new dining hall up and running). At Saint Michael’s College, outside of Burlington, Vt., a $30-million campus center and residence-hall complex has only partly opened, but administrators hope the whole project will be ready by the middle of September.
The College of New Jersey’s School of Education: A 79,000-square-foot project constructed at a cost of $33.4-million, this building brings together faculty offices, flexible classrooms, administrative suites, multipurpose rooms, and a cafe. The building was designed by the architecture and engineering firm Environetics to match other Collegiate Georgian structures on the campus.
Iowa State University’s Troxel Hall: Housing only a new 400-seat teaching auditorium, this $10-million building by the architecture firm BNIM adds space for large classes on the east side of the university’s campus and is already almost fully booked for the fall semester. Among its sustainable features is a green roof.
University at Albany’s School of Business: A site beside the vast Modernist campus that Edward Durell Stone created for Gov. Nelson A. Rockfeller in the 1960s would intimidate many architects, but Perkins + Will deftly updated the existing campus architectural vocabulary for this 96,000-square-foot structure on the State University of New York campus. The $64-million project, which is intended to achieve LEED gold status, includes classrooms, research areas, and meeting spaces for 1,600 students, as well as a sunken garden and a second-floor terrace.
University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Bloch Executive Hall: Constructed with a $32-million gift from Henry W. Bloch, a founder of the H&R Block accounting firm, this 58,000-square-foot building houses a 200-seat auditorium, classrooms, a behavioral-research lab in which students can observe consumer habits, and an atrium with an amphitheater. The architects were BNIM and Moore Ruble Yudell.
University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Haslam Music Center: Built to replace a 1964 structure that the School of Music had outgrown, this $40-million, 123,000-square-foot facility has a 400-seat recital hall, rehearsal spaces for various groups, 45 practice rooms, classrooms and computer labs, faculty offices, and a music library. The designers were BarberMcMurry Architects and Blankenship & Partners.
Colby College Museum of Art’s Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion: Designed by the Los Angeles firm Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects for just $15-million, this 26,000-square-foot addition gives the museum a high-profile new entrance and adds 10,000 square feet of gallery space, bringing the museum’s total to 38,000—making the museum Maine’s largest (and almost certainly the only one where washing your hands in the restrooms triggers an audio piece by Julianne Swartz, “Affirmations,” that aims to “make you feel completely loved”). The structure’s name honors a 2007 gift by Peter and Paula Lunder that included more than 500 artworks valued at more than $100-million. In addition to gallery space, the pavilion houses classrooms, museum offices, studio space for art and photography classes, faculty offices, and a lounge for art students.
Luther College’s Aquatic Center: Some 280 spectators can gather in a mezzanine overlooking this $8-million building’s eight-lane, 25-yard-long pool. Designed by Opus Group, the 17,800-square-foot facility also has a 13-foot-deep diving area. The Iowa college filled in its old pool and turned the space into multi-use courts.
University of Oregon’s Football Performance Center: University officials won’t disclose the cost of this six-story, 145,000-square-foot facility, but a New York Times reporter said after getting a tour that a much-cited $68-million figure seemed “conservative.” Designed by ZGF Architects and Firm 151 with oversight by Nike’s Mr. Knight and his wife, Penny, the facility is notable for being lavish in every conceivable way, from its sleek barbershop with imported equipment (although players get haircuts “at a student rate”) to the televisions built into mirrors in the coaches’ locker room and the 170-seat theater whose projection screen rises to reveal a view of the football stadium. Sports Illustrated, before noting that the marble for the showers had been imported from Italy, said the building “is sure to set a new standard in the arms race to recruit and develop football talent.” (See a photo gallery here.)
University of Miami’s Student Activities Center: The architecture firm Arquitectonica designed this 119,000-square-foot facility, which houses offices for student organizations, a rathskeller, a 24-hour-a-day study space, a 1,000-seat ballroom that can be divided into smaller rooms, and more. The $46.5-million building is expected to earn LEED silver certification and is notable for being, as the university puts it, “hurricane-themed": Waves, wind, and rain, respectively, are represented in terrazzo patterns on the first, second, and third floors.
Berea College’s Deep Green Residence Hall: Designed by Hastings & Chivetta and Hellmuth + Bicknese to be among higher education’s most sustainable residential facilities, this 42,000-square-foot building houses 120 students in 66 rooms and cost $16.5-million. It incorporates 114 solar panels, a geothermal heat-pump system, high-efficiency windows, and low-flow plumbing fixtures, and the college expects it will use 35 percent less electricity than a conventional residence hall. Among other features, it has 267 pieces of furniture made by Berea students using wood harvested in the college’s forest with help from mule teams. The college expects the building to earn platinum-level LEED certification.
Coker College’s Sullivan Residence Hall: The first of six residence halls planned by Coker, this 18,096-square-foot building on the South Carolina campus houses 48 students in 12 apartments, each with four bedrooms, a living area, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen. Each floor of the building, which was designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, has a common porch with rocking chairs.
Maryland Institute College of Art’s Leake Hall: Designed and built in less than 18 months, this 88,000-square-foot residence hall rose on the site of a parking lot beside an existing housing complex in Baltimore’s Bolton Hill neighborhood. It accommodates 240 students and includes two studios—one at street level, where neighbors can see in—as well as a lecture hall. The project cost $16.3-million and was designed by Hord Coplan Macht.
Pacific Northwest College of Art’s ArtHouse: The Oregon college’s first residence hall is a six-story, 130-bed building with 50 two- and three-bedroom apartments above a ground-floor cafe and retail and gallery space. Designed by Lever Architecture/LRS Architects, it’s a $7.3-million project of a nonprofit group called College Housing Northwest, and was constructed in collaboration with the bookstore-owning Powell family on a site formerly occupied by Powell’s Technical Bookstore.
University of Cincinnati’s Morgens Hall: After concluding that renovating its three 1964 high-rise residence halls would be more cost-effective than replacing them, the university set about planning makeovers. The most obvious change brought by the $35-million project to overhaul Morgens Hall is a new glass exterior (a pattern of fritting in the glass cuts heat gain from sunlight by 20 percent), but the 144 apartments have been completely renovated as well. The university and the architects, Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects, expect the building will earn LEED certification. A short video about the renovations is here.
University of California at Santa Barbara’s Ocean Science Education Building: Built as a joint effort of the university and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this 15,000-square-foot project—only part of which is now open—will house both offices for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and an outreach center for teaching ocean science. The outreach center will include a theater as well as tanks and artificial habitats in which visitors can observe sea life. The project was designed by EHDD and was financed with an $8.1-million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, of which NOAA is a part.