campus housing buzz
The 2010 residential architect design awards judges had a thought-provoking conversation about campus housing during last week's judging. One pointed out student housing's importance as "an opportunity for passive learning." All six judges agreed that small, ground-level community spaces are a positive trend, as opposed to the big public spaces of dormitories past. They debated whether it was better to place these smaller-scale gathering places near the entry to the building, or by the laundry room or other service area. And they'd heard different reports about Steven Holl's Simmons Hall dormitory at MIT--some had heard the building is popular among students, while others had been told the opposite.
The panel concurred that campus housing is a challenging, interesting practice area that can produce innovative architecture. "The question is, can you provide this communal thing and still have privacy," said a judge, summing up this building type's fundamental dichotomy.
For selected stories on past ra design award winners in the campus housing category, click here, here, and here.--m.d.