A historic transformation that empowers women and binds a community

Texas Woman’s University, Student Union, Denton, TX

Texas Woman’s Student Union was built to the school’s mission, not to be a monument. Replacing a historic building established in the 1940s, the expanded and renovated Hubbard Hall was transformed into a new epicenter of the community, featuring dining service, meeting rooms, retail, recreation and lounge space, student organizations academic spaces and administrative support services. To accommodate a campus community that has grown from 5,800 students to 15,000 students on three campuses, the new building serves as a vital component of a stronger campus ecosystem, providing a space that is aspirational, safe and encourages the strength to take risks, a hallmark of TWU.

It was important to campus leaders and the design team to incorporate diverse voices into the project. Through visioning sessions with faculty, staff, and students, the campus community helped to define the programming, sustainability goals, approach to environmental graphic design, and furniture selection. Not only were students able to give input on these topics, but also, they had the opportunity to test the furniture selections and select the pieces they preferred. At all stages, the design team ensured the students felt the spaces were inclusive and representative of TWU’s culture and Pioneer Pride. 

The new Hubbard Hall had the unique challenge of maintaining and restoring key historical features of the building while introducing many new spaces and programmatic elements. The revitalization of these historic elements was paramount to the building, as many alumni and community members have strong associations with the entry rotunda, the ballrooms and the Redbud conference room. To ensure that the historic character of the building remained intact and could be integrated elegantly with the new interventions, we extensively utilized and replicated key original details within the building to enable the required changes while maintaining the richness of the spaces. The results created spaces that vary greatly in architectural character and formality but still feel unified.