Envisioned as a sweeping transformation of the student residential experience, the design-build team of Clayco/DLA+ and Mackey Mitchell Architects was selected to dramatically transform the East Halls neighborhood at Penn State University. As one of the largest residence hall construction programs undertaken by the university, the project will be developed in phases. The $152 million initial phase includes significant enhancements to outdoor spaces, construction of two new residence halls, and the renovation of five outdated 1960s residence halls, to be completed in three successive 14-month construction periods. At the end of Phase 2, 4570 students will enjoy a state-of-the-art residential life setting.
Major enhancements to outdoor spaces are a large part of the overall program. From the beginning, a primary goal was to provide a consistently excellent experience within East Halls. Pedestrian walkways, recreational zones, and gathering places have been given as much deliberate and thoughtful attention as building improvements. New social spaces within each building are defined with glassy, transparent enclosures referred to as “lanterns." These bright, open spaces, with spectacular campus views will create a new social choreography, dramatically improving each student's early years at Penn State. The team is also integrating new systems and services, and making significant upgrades to thermal efficiency and occupant comfort within tight existing constraints. Working closely with Penn State stakeholders throughout the entire process will ensure that East Halls becomes a refreshed and cohesive community.
"Demonstrate ingenuity within a limited budget" was the challenge presented to the design/build team. During the competition, the team came up with solutions to dramatically remake the East Halls living experience within their budgetary constraints. By choosing an integrated design-build delivery method for construction, all the constituents developed a charter detailing how each team member would perform their duties as they worked toward a common goal. This team-oriented approach has helped maintain schedules and budgets during each step of the design process. Mackey Mitchell president Steve Emer remarked, "The team continues to refine each building, working through all the technical aspects, including site integration, landscaping and utility requirements through extensive work sessions with Penn State." " Cost estimates," he continued," are on track with the original budget. The team has even developed a list of alternate ideas, as a means of finding ways to include all the elements on Penn State's 'wish list'.”
Students have expectations of college living that are much different from when our facilities were built. Although location is still a major consideration in a student's decision to live off campus, privacy, amenities and costs are also critical factors.
- Gail Hurley
Associate Vice President for Auxiliary and Business Services, Penn State
Project Team Member
Architect of Record
Hope Furrer Associates,