Mackey Mitchell Architects, Turnerbatson, and a talented group of consultants worked with The University of Alabama to design a state-of-the-art residential experience for freshmen women. The new hall replaces an existing ten-story residential tower and will be the third incarnation of Tutwiler Hall, providing 1,284 beds comprised mainly of double-occupancy semi-suites. At 365,000 SF, there are ample amenities to promote student success, including social lounges, clubhouses, fitness rooms, collaboration rooms, retail dining, and specialized facilities for hobbies and special interests. With student safety paramount, the new hall also includes an ICC-500 rated storm shelter capable of protecting over 1,400 occupants.
With 1,284 beds, a primary design challenge became managing the scale of the building. From the outside, it needed to fit seamlessly into Alabama’s historic Georgian campus. Identifying an organizing concept and appropriate massing became the focuses of early design studies so that the building would appear much smaller from most vantage points and to establish lines and proportions befitting the architectural style. From the inside, it was critical for each student to feel at ease and at home and not be overwhelmed by the building size. The University worked with students to refine multiple full-scale unit mockups until every detail was just right. The team also used virtual reality simulation to test light patterns, prominent views, and wayfinding concepts.
In early planning, the design team was challenged to design “The best residence hall in the US!” Setting the bar high opened the team to explore and reimagine every facet of the Tutwiler experience from move-in to game day to sorority life. Located across the street from UA’s iconic Bryant-Denny Stadium, it was easy to imagine the excitement of students and guests buzzing about before a game and returning home to celebrate their victory. This way of thinking shaped the program—providing ample space for impromptu meetups, long conversations, cardio before class, midnight snacks, hobby pursuits, and much more. Equally influential were the stories of Julia Tutwiler and her legacy. The building learns from the past while fostering community, sisterhood, wellbeing, and comfort for today.
Passion + Perspective
Anchoring the south side of campus, the 1,284-bed facility will provide students with a safe and secure housing option with everything they will need to be successful UA students.
- Dr. Steven Hood
Associate Vice President of Student Life, University of Alabama