SILVER AWARD: Seegers Student Union, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.

Muhlenberg College chose to renovate and expand Seegers Union by 30,000 sf to centralize Student Life and Student Organization offices, expand social space, and develop a 600-seat dining facility that serves as the hearthstone of the building. Photos: Richard Mandelkorn
November 08, 2011

Constructed in the 1960s when enrollment at Muhlenberg College was 1,200 students, the 66,000-sf Seegers Student Union reflected the English and German architecture traditions incorporated in other buildings on campus. Despite being outdated and undersized, the campus center hosted 3,300 guests per day.

In 2009, the college chose to renovate and expand the facility by 30,000 sf to centralize its Student Life and Student Organization offices, expand informal social space, and develop a 600-seat dining facility. The dining room is the hearthstone, a focal point visible even from the opposite end of the building. The Light Lounge serves as an active living room, while an outdoor terrace overlooking Brown Mall rounds out the new amenities of the structure. The Seegers Student Union completes a new quadrangle on the campus, providing students with an important connection to the outdoors.

Seegers Student Union, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa.

Flooring Tile: Mirage Granito Ceramico
Flooring Carpet: Gt058 Parkway, Lees
Flooring Linoleum: Optma Open Plan, Armstrong
Wood Interior Trim: Eucalyptus
Wood Columns: Somerset
Roofing Wood Decking: Loc-Dek Douglas Fir
Roofing Asphalt Shingles: Timberline, Gas Elk
HVAC Systems: Annexair
Insulation/ICFs: BASF Walltile
Cork Wall Tile: Globus
Ceramic Wall Tile: Oceanside Glasstile
Paints: Sherwin-Williams
Coliing Metal Drapery: Cascade Coil
Building Envelope Brick: Bowerston
Building Envelope Curtain Wall: Tublite
Plumbing Fixtures: Toto

Designs for the new facility benefited from feedback from focus groups and informal discussions with students, staff, and faculty. 

“They took a shell of a building and crafted it into something much more pleasant,” said BD+C Reconstruction Awards Judge Walker Johnson, FAIA.

The Building Team—submitting firm Bruner/Cott & Associates (architect), Barry Isett & Associates (structural engineer), Snyder Hoffman Associated (mechanical engineer), and Alvin H. Butz (general contractor)—redesigned the structure into a modern and sustainable facility.

“The building goes with the rest of the campus now. They took a sore thumb and made it blend in,” said BD+C Reconstruction Awards Judge Martha Bell, FAIA. BD+C

         
 

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