American School & University has awarded the University of the District of Columbia’s Student Center a Citation in the Post-Secondary category of its 2016 Architectural Showcase. The Citation is the highest award given in each category, and the Student Center was the only post-secondary project to receive this year’s award.
The University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Washington’s only public higher education institution, has catered chiefly to commuting students since its founding in 1977. Set back from the street and featuring brutalist architecture, the campus was nondescript and easy to miss. The new Student Center changes that by creating a new public face for the university, a hub for social activity, and a critical link between the university and its neighbors.
A robust placemaking strategy creates a strong connection between the campus and the community; a clock tower signals this is a building of importance, and the building’s material articulation — as well as the streetscape and landscape design — breathes new life into a once barren plaza. Inside, the 83,000 SF building is filled with social spaces designed to encourage students to engage with the university outside of the classroom.
Targeting LEED Platinum certification, sustainable design features are woven throughout the building, ranging from a 14,000 SF green roof and photovoltaic panels to a rain garden and water treatment system that mitigates the amount and quality of water entering the city’s stormwater system.
Designed by CannonDesign in association with Marshall Moya Design