Shepley Bulfinch’s design of the Anderson University Center at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota has won a Facilities Design Award from the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), it was announced at ACUI’s annual conference last week.
“This award honors more than the design of the Anderson Center,” said Shepley Bulfinch project designer Luke Voiland. “It recognizes the value of a design and planning process that brought everyone to the table.”
Since it opened last fall, the Carol Young Anderson and Dennis L. Anderson Center has become the heart of Hamline’s campus, and a place that supports and brings together the campus’ diverse communities. The curved form of the Center conveys a sense of arrival, welcoming visitors and parents, alumni and prospective students. Inside, the campus community gathers in flexible meeting spaces, with amenities that include dining, retail, a meditation room, an outdoor terrace, and a ten-seat computer bar.
“The Anderson Center has truly become the hub of campus life,” Doug Anderson, Vice President for Finance and Administration at Hamline University, said. “The diversity and flexibility of the spaces help foster the vital elements of a strong university: collaboration, reflection, discussion, community, fellowship, and scholarship.”
The site, which mediates campus and city, offered an important opportunity to re-center the campus. The zinc and terracotta-clad Center does so, providing a gateway to the school and an anchor gathering place. The glass conveys a sense of transparency while the terracotta recasts the University’s traditional brick in a contemporary vocabulary. Within, the design uses the concept of an informal path crossing the building site as a major organizing feature while the central curved stair establishes a series of vertical visual connections.
The design speaks to Hamline’s commitment to the environment. The Center, which was designed to LEED Silver standards, features solar panels, high performance glass and lighting, and a green roof. The community can see the energy-efficient elements in action with a touchscreen display in the lobby that details the building’s green features, live energy use data, and interactive displays that promote sustainable practices.
The ACUI Facility Design Awards recognize excellence in the design of student-centered facilities that support campus community building and student learning. Entries were judged not only on the basis of the facilities’ appearance, but also on the process used to arrive at the design and how the new or renovated facility has impacted the campus. Other institutions recognized at the ACUI awards ceremony included Penn State, Louisiana State, and Boise State Universities.