BRB Architects has completed the 57,000 sf campus center and associated main quadrangle at Molloy College. Intended to be the centerpiece of the College’s transformation from a commuter college to a 24-hour learning community, the “Public Square” will support student life with spaces such as a café, lounges, study rooms, student club space, a bookstore and an art gallery. In addition, the center houses a 550-seat theater, as well as rehearsal and office spaces for the music department.
The 57,000 “Public Square” creates and frames a central campus quadrangle. A café, lounge and study space are located on the east side of the building, overlooking the quadrangle through the largely glazed east face of the building. The indoor spaces are an extension of the quadrangle, together creating a vibrant center for student life at Molloy.
The building is organized as a series of three layers separated by open-ended circulation spines, which allow visual connection to the Molloy Campus. The masonry-clad westernmost layer houses support spaces and enclosed offices. The loft-like central layer of the building with its exposed steel structure is designed for maximum flexibility, allowing multiple uses on a daily basis as well as being engineered for future reconfiguration as the needs of the campus community evolve. This zone contains larger spaces such as the multi-purpose space, the art gallery, student club workrooms, and the information commons, a flexible, technologically enabled space. This open zone is punctuated by a large sky lit atrium, connecting spaces vertically and creating a vibrant bustle throughout the building. The glass and zinc clad easternmost layer of the building acts as a veranda, visually connecting lounge and study spaces to the outdoor quadrangle. Here in the most permeable layer of the “Public Square” we see the interaction of indoor and outdoor activities that support the thriving learning community at Molloy College.
A 550-seat theater forms the southernmost mass of the building, and is articulated as a discrete pavilion. The slight rotation of the theater volume begins to gently enclose the main quadrangle while creating a pedestrian gateway from the western parking area, through the lobby, to the campus quadrangle.
Through the use of sand cast red brick, oak doors, and a warm natural color palette, the building maintains a strong connection to the existing campus fabric. The permeable flowing spaces, combined with the robust authenticity of polished concrete and exposed steel structure, however, reflect the sense that the “Public Square” serves a special function at Molloy College; that of connecting people to each other and to the world beyond.
Sustainable design objectives include: minimizing storm water run-off and heat absorption in parking areas and on roofs; ensuring good air quality; maximizing daylight and views; reducing water and energy usage; constructing with regionally obtained materials and using low-emitting paints, carpeting and composite wood products; and providing for day-to-day healthy operation and maintenance. LEED certification for the project is pending. BD+C