Building distinctive residential communities has been integral to Grand Valley State University’s success, with enrollment growing by nearly 12,000 students since 1994.Opening in the fall of 2016, the Holton-Hooker Living Learning Center brings a unique combination of residential and academic space to the campus core. The 498-bed facility, designed by Mackey Mitchell in collaboration with FTCH, provides nearly 115,000 SF of residential space as well an additional 20,000 SF for Residential Life Offices, academic classrooms, campus lounge and a retail café. The building’s 498 beds are organized into cluster communities of 24 students. Each community shares two ‘club style’ bathrooms and a study-lounge.
The building is located on a very challenging site - tightly bound by small residential buildings, a wooded ravine and the north end of the academic campus. It was critical for the project to sit comfortably in its site and not crowd or dominate adjacent structures. The Design Team worked closely with the University to develop a massing strategy that would maintain the necessary capacity, but keep the profile of the building low, help organize circulation and flow around the site and shape a variety of outdoor recreational spaces. As the epicenter of GVSU’s Freshman Year Experience program, a balance had to be struck between welcoming students who don’t live in the facility, but learn and socialize there and providing a secure residential environment for the building’s residents. By providing clear separation and articulation of the public components, the project successfully blends these overlapping programmatic needs in a way that supports and encourages a dynamic living-learning community.
Grand Valley State University (GVSU) believes strongly in what they call “The Laker Effect” - defined as the collective impact of the Grand Valley community on individual students, West Michigan, the state and beyond. GVSU Lakers are “driven by passion for learning and using that knowledge for the common good.” The Holton-Hooker Living Learning Center embodies this by being intentionally planned to build residential community around academics. Many of the students who live in the building also take classes in the building. Conversations from the classrooms spill over into the art adorned corridors and social spaces as well as into the intimate residential communities imbuing the building with a real living learning atmosphere.
This space is so important to achieving our mission - and our mission is clear in shaping our students' lives, their professions and society.
- Thomas Haas