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KWK Architects, Residence Life Administrators Reflect on Innovative Levine Hall Design at UNC – Charlotte

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Community combines honors program inside traditional residence hall

 

On most university campuses throughout the United States, you will find traditional residence halls, and you will find honors halls. But what happens when the two types of residence halls are combined into a single Living/Learning Community?

Such a unique configuration was implemented nearly two years ago with the opening of the $38.5 million Levine Hall at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. KWK Architects designed the university’s newest residential building to house 435 total students – a combination of honors and traditional students. Currently, Levine Hall houses 136 honor students, about 31% of the Levine student community.

The 160,000-square-foot Levine Hall includes four-bedroom suites and apartments, plus large central lounges and study areas at the end corridors of each floor. Community spaces include a lobby, lounge, resident kitchen, laundry and meeting spaces.

The hall’s extended “Z” shape creates a significant open lawn which leads to a large arched opening. At this opening are entries to both the residence hall and the honors college zone to provide a separate identity and allow independent operation while encouraging regular use by residents.

“The design of Levine Hall at UNC-Charlotte had a very specific directive – the inclusion of an honors and scholars program inside a traditional residence hall. This unique challenge required different unit types, such as suites and apartments, to be embedded within each RA community, as well as academic and administrative support exclusive to honors program students,” said KWK Architects Principal Paul Wuennenberg.

Two years after Levine Hall’s opening, the student housing experts at KWK and UNC Charlotte are analyzing the results of their unique design and seeking answers to their questions: “Are the honors students successfully integrating into the traditional community?”, “Is the rest of the community accepting of these students?”, “What tools have been used to improve the sense of community within these two groups sharing the same space?” and “Are there opportunities for mentorship from the honors students?”

Aaron J. Hart, Ed.D., Associate Vice Chancellor & Director, Housing and Residence Life at UNC Charlotte, says the Levine Hall community has been deemed a success on many levels.

“The Levine Residence Hall staff shared and acknowledged that the honor students on the third floor thoroughly enjoy the connection of home to classroom. The relationship has successfully connected the housing community and the unique academic relationship for honors students,” said Hart. “This semester the honors college has opened its doors up to late night homework and study hours that are only accessible to honors students and friends. This has been really beneficial for students because they can utilize the smart classrooms for homework purposes, instead of walking to the library. In my opinion, students have greatly benefited from the physical proximity of the offices. Our department has also seen development in relationships through the close proximity of the honors college.”

Through analysis of the Levine Hall design, KWK’s design experts plan to further their understanding of designing a residence hall that incorporates an honors program, with heavy emphasis on academic and administrative support; learning ways to improve the interactions between honors students and the rest of the RA communities; as well as understanding how honors program administrators and faculty interact with residence life professionals in the same residence hall.

“While the honors program supports the honors student, there have been measurable benefits for the traditional students in this type of Living/Learning Community,” said Wuennenberg. “We will continue to look at this design further and whether this type of building configuration can be a benefit to other institutions.”

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. For more information about KWK Architects, visit www.kwkarchitects.com or contact Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at cindyh@kwkarchitects.com or 314-583-1757.

Construction Underway on New Williams Village East Residence Hall Designed by KWK Architects for University of Colorado Boulder

in Companies/News

Construction is well underway on the 178,000-square-foot Williams Village East residence hall at the University of Colorado Boulder. KWK Architects is part of the design-build team, which also includes architect-of-record alm2s of Fort Collins, CO and Whiting-Turner Contracting Company of Denver, CO. The projected move-in date for the $96.7 million residence hall is August 2019.

Construction on Williams Village East began in August 2017 on the south side of Baseline Road at approximately 35th Street. The building will sit just east of the Williams Village North residence hall on a site currently occupied by a parking lot and four tennis courts that are no longer in use.

The 700-bed, seven-story Williams Village East was designed to match the architectural style and exterior finish of Williams Village North, which opened in August 2011. Williams Village East will be built according to LEED Gold standards, with such renewable energy features as solar panels, LED lighting, recycling areas, occupancy sensor lighting, green outlets, thermostats in each room, low-flow toilets and urinals, door closers and a VRF HVAC system, among other eco-features.

“A lot of the energy efficient features we designed into the building focus not only on saving energy, but also encourage students to get into the habit of being energy conscious,” said Meghan Bogener, AIA, IIDA, Project Architect and Interior Designer at KWK Architects. “When designing these types of projects, we often ask our clients, ‘do you want to look green, or do you want to be green?’ We find that the best design solutions incorporate both aspects.”

Williams Village East will provide additional on-campus housing to keep pace with recent enrollment growth, and help address the growing demand from upperclassmen who want to remain in campus housing, according to information provided by the university. The building’s design is that of a more traditional residence hall that allows for more beds.

Additional project updates and information may be found at www.colorado.edu/fm/WillVillEast. 

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. For more information about KWK Architects, visit www.kwkarchitects.com or contact Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at cindyh@kwkarchitects.com or 314-583-1757.

KWK Architects Principal Paul Wuennenberg to Share Expertise on Designing Residential Colleges at Upcoming Conference

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KWK Architects principal Paul Wuennenberg, AIA, LEED AP, along with Diane Brittingham, Director of Residential Life and Associate Director at the University of Oklahoma (OU), have been invited to speak about the university’s recently completed residential colleges during the 2018 Southwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (SWACUHO) Conference, Feb. 18-20 in San Marcos, TX.

KWK Architects, with architect-of-record ADG, designed the first residential colleges at the University of Oklahoma. The $75 million Headington and Dunham Residential Colleges opened this semester with 600 upperclassmen (300 students in each building). A dedication ceremony was held on Oct. 11, 2017.

Wuennenberg and Brittingham’s program will take an in-depth look at the university’s new residential colleges  which are modeled after the residential colleges at Ivy League universities. Program participants will learn how the residential college model has evolved and how the design process for creating these facilities differs from a traditional residence hall. The pair will also evaluate the impact that this model is having on the residential life program at OU.

The residential college model combines three aspects of student life: the living space, learning space and fellowship development, and typically features a faculty master apartment and office, a variety of student rooms, private parking, seminar/conference rooms, lounges, study areas, libraries and dining rooms. Each college also typically embodies a house motto, colors, crest and athletic teams.

For more information about the 2018 SWACUHO Conference, visit  www.swacuho.org.

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life.

 

KWK Architects Designs First Residential Colleges at the University of Oklahoma

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Upperclassmen residential communities combine living and learning amenities

Utilizing the “residential college” community model, higher education design experts KWK Architects, partnered with architect of record ADG Architects of Oklahoma City, recently completed the first residential colleges in Oklahoma at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. A dedication ceremony for the new Headington and Dunham residential colleges was held on Oct. 11.

“The residential colleges will have a huge impact on student life at the University of Oklahoma,” said University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren in a press release. “For the first time, we will be able to provide on-campus housing for upperclassmen and women.”

The new $75 million residential colleges are designed as living/learning spaces that provide students with a sense of community and identity within the larger university environment.

“The residential colleges combine three different aspects of student life: the living space, the learning space, and the fellowship relationship. The goal of this model is to engage students within the residential colleges beyond their freshman and sophomore years, creating relationships and a lasting sense of identity,” said KWK Architects Principal Paul Wuennenberg, AIA, LEED AP. 

The facilities, located south of the football stadium at the southwest corner of Jenkins Avenue and Lindsey Street, opened this semester with 600 upperclassmen (300 students in each building). Oklahoma’s residential colleges are some of the first in the United States.

Taking cues from residential colleges on Ivy League campuses such as Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge, each building features a faculty master apartment and office, dormitories, private parking, seminar/conference rooms, lounges, study areas, libraries and dining rooms. The two residential colleges are also connected by a communal dining area and storm shelter, and each boasts a house motto, colors, crest and athletic teams. The architectural design of each college was influenced by the Cherokee Gothic style featured on several buildings throughout the campus.

“The design of a residential college is complex. It must embody the spirit and community of each college. It also includes dining and other elements that are usually part of the campus, but in this case, are an integral part of the college, such as the library, a gym, etc. In many ways, the residential college becomes a microcosm of the campus. Finally, the residential floors must offer a wide variety of room types that are enticing for freshman as well as upperclassmen to increase retention and engagement with the residential college,” said Wuennenberg.

The project team, which included KWK Architects, ADG Architects and Brailsford & Dunlavey program management, began the project by first creating a master plan for expanding student campus housing at the university. The team reviewed existing housing facilities, as well as available campus sites and near-campus housing before surveying students to determine optimal rental prices, unit sizes, room configurations and desired amenities for the new residential colleges.

About KWK Architects

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. Areas of expertise include student housing and dining, and academic and science/technology spaces. KWK Architects has completed more than $1 billion in construction-valued projects since its founding and currently employs a growing staff of 15 at its headquarters in Webster Groves, MO. For more information about KWK Architects, visit www.kwkarchitects.com or contact Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at cindyh@kwkarchitects.com or 314-583-1757.

KWK Architects Principal Dick Kirschner to Speak at InterFaceOn-Campus Housing Conference in Philadelphia

in Companies/News

KWK Architects principal and a leading expert in higher education design Dick Kirschner, AIA, has been invited to speak at the 5th annual InterFace On-Campus Housing Conference, Oct. 24-26, in Philadelphia, PA.

The conference features workshops, roundtables and panel sessions that focus on collaboration, sustainable success and best practices for on-campus housing. A variety of topics are planned for the conference including:  P3 financing, designing for Generation Z, keeping up with technology, trends in housing for international students, how to write an effective RFP, and more.

Kirschner will be participating in an architecture panel discussion. Kirschner is a seasoned professional with nearly 40 years of design experience. He has focused his career on the planning, design and construction of university, healthcare, K-12, corporate and cultural institution facilities throughout the Midwest and Southeast. For the past 18 years, Kirschner has concentrated on student life projects and is recognized as an industry leader in the master planning of housing that supports a vibrant and financially stable campus community.

Participants at the conference will include college and university housing experts, business advisors, student housing developers, architects, contractors, vendors and more. Tours of on-campus housing at Drexel University and the University of Philadelphia are also planned for participants.

For more information about the conference, visit http://www.cvent.com/events/2017-interface-on-campus-housing/event-summary-ce0e8d7f25ae49afafc27210c5610116.aspx. 

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. 

McCarthy Completes New Missouri S&T Residence Hall for Fall Semester

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McCarthy Logo (New Aug 2016)Design-build delivery and innovative construction methods kept the project on schedule

The new 450-bed University Commons residence hall at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) in Rolla, Mo., is ready for students to move in this fall. McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. and its partners completed the 125,000-square-foot residence hall in about half the time as a typical project of this scope by using efficient construction methods and materials.

“We’re thrilled to have this new state-of-the-art residence hall ready in time for returning students,” said Ted Ruth, director of design and construction management at Missouri S&T. “From the start, the project ran smoothly, and we were excited to benefit from McCarthy’s specialized expertise in higher education construction.”

The design-build project integrates a prefabricated panel system fabricated by Eisen Panel Group in St. Charles, Mo., and transported to the campus. These specialized panels are designed for immediate weather-proof capabilities with the added benefit of quick assembly. Made of cold-formed steel, the pre-assembled panels could be installed much quicker than conventional building materials, allowing for complete enclosure of the building to reduce water infiltration and the potential for mold and mildew.

“Through collaborative teamwork and strategic planning, we were able to complete this project quickly and safely, and we’re eager for students to experience this terrific new facility,” said Jeremy Witts, McCarthy project manager.

KWK Architects and The Lawrence Group collaborated on the design of the project.

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