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Eight projects showcase the latest trends in student housing

University Buildings

Eight projects showcase the latest trends in student housing

Join us on a tour of select student residences at some of America’s top four-year colleges and universities.

By Robert Cassidy, Executive Editor | October 28, 2019

Rendering: Plompmozes

Join us on a tour of select student residences at some of America’s top four-year colleges and universities—starting at Fairfield University.


42 LANGGUTH HALL | Fairfield University

Students in Langguth hallA typical double room at 42 Langguth Hall on the campus of Fairfield University, Fairfield, Conn. Gilbane Building Company (CM at risk), The S/L/A/M Collaborative (architect, structural engineer, landscape designer), and Kohler Ronan (MEP/FP) formed the project team for the 202-bed, three-story complex. Photo: Paul Burk Photography.


Fairfield University, a Catholic institution in the Jesuit tradition, wanted a special home primarily for sophomores in its Ignatian Leadership Residential College. The $21.1 million 42 Langguth Hall houses 202 such students, plus offices and a 24-seat classroom.

Gilbane Building Company (CM) and design/engineering firm The S/L/A/M Collaborative provided 190 doubles, 12 singles, and three suites for resident directors, all clustered into 10-bed suites. There are fully accessible unisex bathrooms and showers on each floor.

The L-shaped, 62,400-sf structure, designed to complement the 1960s-era buildings on the Stags’ Connecticut campus, is framed by a glass tower. Each floor has two study lounges and communal kitchen.


THEORY WEST MIDTOWN | Georgia Institute of Technology

Theory West The view of the Atlanta skyline from the rooftop terrace of Theory West Midtown, a 525-bed residence near Georgia Tech. Summit Contracting Group (GC) and Niles Bolton Associates (architect) were the project team for owner/manager Peak Campus. The podium for the two five-story structures holds 10,500 sf of retail space. Photo: Peak Campus.


Summit Contracting Group had a unique problem in its effort to complete the Theory West Midtown off-campus residences in the busy West Midtown neighborhood of Atlanta.

The problem: Super Bowl LIII. Ahead of the February 3 game, the city instituted a three-week moratorium on roadwork near the jobsite that slowed the work considerably. But once the hoopla was over, Summit fired up the afterburners and completed the 183-unit property for 525 Yellow Jackets before the first day of classes in August.

This was Summit’s sixth student housing project for owner/manager Peak Campus. Two five-story podium buildings designed by Niles Bolton Associates encompass 385,917 sf, including 10,500 sf of retail. A swimming pool, rooftop terrace, fitness center, study areas, package locker system, and bike storage round out the amenities list.


CROSS | The University of Oklahoma

Cross at OUJE Dunn Construction led the team members— Clark Nexsen Student Life (interior architect), Studio Architecture (exteriors), and engineering firm Smith Roberts Baldischwiler—for the University of Oklahoma’s Cross student residences. Prescient constructed the three upper stories of each building over the one-story concrete podiums. Photo: David Cobb Photography.


JE Dunn Construction used the Lean Planner System to finish this four-building, 518,000-sf complex in 16 months for 1,235 Sooner upperclassmen on OU’s flagship campus. The 416-unit, $194 million project was financed through a public-private partnership with Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions and Provident Resources Group—a first for the Norman campus.

Each of the four buildings in the 10-acre site is a distinct residential college. Live-in faculty members have a “den” next to their apartments  for informal educator-student interaction.

Fitness options include TRX, CrossFit, and Orangetheory. Amenities include an electronics retail store, a fast-casual dining facility, a gym, a gelato café, a black box theater, a creator space, a quick-care clinic, a blow dry bar, rehearsal spaces, and theater and performance venues. Walker Parking built a five-story, 1,000-space garage.


UIC ACADEMIC AND RESIDENTIAL COMPLEX | University of Illinois at Chicago

UIC ACADEMIC AND RESIDENTIAL COMPLEXThe team for the Academic and Residential Complex at the University of Illinois at Chicago: SCB (architect, interior design for Academic Hall); Sixthriver (interior design, Residence Hall); Thornton Tomasetti (structural engineer); TERRA (civil engineer); Elara Engineering (MEP/FP engineer); Threshold Acoustics (acoustics/audio-visual); Captiva Lighting; PlanNet (IT); site design group (landscape architect); dbHMS (commissioning); and Pepper Construction (GC). That’s the late Walter Netsch’s Brutalist 28-story University Hall (1965) in the background. Photo: Steve Hall © Hall+Merrick Photographers.


Design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz combined a 10-story, 146,000-sf residence hall and a two-story, 54,000-sf academic center to create this $100 million interdisciplinary complex at UIC.

The residence hall has 16,000 sf of shared spaces: study and social lounges on each floor, a laundry facility, a fitness center, and a sky lounge on the 10th floor. The residence has two-person “dorm” rooms and semi-suite units for 548 Flames students.

The academic hall houses seven interactive classrooms, small group study rooms, a tutoring center, and collaboration spaces.

The UIC complex was financed largely through tax-exempt bonds issued by the Collegiate Housing Foundation. American Campus Communities was the P3 partner.

SCB targeted LEED Gold certification. Folded aluminum wings on the exterior admit daylight while controlling glare and heat buildup.


NORTHSIDE PHASE 2 | The University of Texas at Dallas

Pool at UT's Northside Phase 2Northside Phase 2 is a 900-bed off-campus community on the edge of the University of Texas at Dallas. It consists of a mix of townhomes, studios, and one-, two-, and four-bedroom apartments in five buildings. A DART light-rail transit station has been proposed for the area. Photo: Show My Property.


Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions, developer Wynne/Jackson, and lead equity partner Star America formed a P3 partnership with UT Dallas on the second phase of the Northside residential project.

Architecture Demarest, TGP Partners, and Keaton Interiors designed the five-building off-campus community. Design-builder Andres Construction and Balfour Beatty Construction delivered 275 units (900 beds) in 22 months. The project is being operated by Balfour Beatty Communities under a 61-year ground lease.

Resident Comets can benefit from a fourth-floor lounge, a two-story fitness center, study rooms, a clubhouse, and 6,000 sf of retail, primarily restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops.


NICHOLSON GATEWAY | Louisiana State University

RISE LSU at duskNiles Bolton Associates (lead architect) steered the Nicholson Gateway team of RHH Architects (Building 500 architect) and The Lemoine Company (GC) for LSU Property Foundation (owner) and RISE (developer). RBC Capital Markets was the underwriter. Brailsford & Dunlavey/CSRS was program manager. Photo: Andy Frame Photography.


Three years ago, RISE: A Real Estate Company beat out nine other developers in a competition to turn an underdeveloped 28-acre tract on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus into a 1.2 million-sf pedestrian-friendly mixed-use complex for upperclassmen and graduate students.

The finished product is Nicholson Gateway, a 1,529-bed apartment/retail complex with 50,000 sf of student-oriented retail, a 10,000-sf recreation/wellness space, and parking for 1,562 vehicles.

Lead architect Niles Bolton Associates designed two retail/housing buildings, five residential buildings, and a parking structure. All retail was conceived with student needs in mind. One residence building hosts a 17,000-sf Matherne’s Market (a Baton Rouge favorite) and a Wendy’s. A 30,500-sf standalone structure, Building 500, designed by RHH Architects, has a Frutta Bowls, a Starbucks, a Private Stock boutique, and an Express Care Clinic with a hydration therapy lounge.

A large event lawn becomes a Tigers fan zone on football game days, complete with climbing wall, inflatable games, and an HD video wall that displays games from around the country. Hey, it’s the SEC!


MIDDLE EARTH TOWERS | The University of California, Irvine

Middle Earth Towers at University of California IrvineUC Irvine’s 215,000-sf Middle Earth Towers is aiming for LEED Platinum status with a 50.3 kW PV system, rooftop solar collectors for hot water, and natural ventilation with twice as many operable windows as required by code. UCI has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. Rendering: Plompmozes.


Over the years, design-builder Hensel Phelps Construction and architecture firm Mithun have completed 5,000 or so units of student housing. Their latest venture is Middle Earth, a pair of five-story residential towers at UC Irvine for 490 mostly first-year Anteaters.

“Link Lounges” on each floor offer group kitchens, media viewing, and laundry facilities. Music rooms, a fitness center, and recreation facilities add to the amenities. The two-story podium has “smart” classrooms and a 750-seat dining center that serves 7,300 meals a day.

The towers are located in the campus’s central core, along Ring Road—yet another UCI reference to J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy.


BECHTEL RESIDENCE | California Institute of Technology

Bechtel Residence at California Institute of TechnologyThe massing of the three-story Bechtel Residence creates a secure outdoor courtyard for Caltech Beavers. The project team: ZGF (architect), KPFF Consulting Engineers (SE/CE), WSP Engineers (MEP), The Offices of James Burnett (landscape design), and MATT Construction (GC). Photo: Bruce Damonte Photography.


Architecture firm ZGF, contractor MATT Construction, and Caltech joined in an IPD agreement for the 105,000-sf, $54,850,000 Bechtel Residence at Caltech’s Pasadena, Calif., campus. The 223-bed residence is organized into suites of four to 12 with shared bathrooms and living spaces. Seven rooms were set aside for graduate student Resident Advisors. Two units house faculty members and their families.

The complex is targeting LEED Platinum certification and net-zero energy use. Hidden solar panels on the roof supply all the energy for the building. Active chilled beams control the interior climate. The building is “purple-piped”—its wastewater can be used for landscape irrigation—and “net-zero water-ready,” for such time as Caltech implements so-called graywater reuse.

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