Sasaki’s 2008 master plan for Purdue University focused mainly on the integration of student and academic life. The plan sought to imbed academic life more deeply into the daily lives of students, as one of many initiatives aimed at enhancing academic achievement. This resulted in the concept of a mixed-use village arranged around a new green at the heart of the campus. The project included a new Centre for Student Excellence, a retail venue, and a residence hall with a capacity of 300 beds. By integrating student activities and residential life, the design team undertook an overall rethinking of residential quality, location, and the distribution of students on campus. The enhanced residential options are intended to bring more students, especially non-freshmen, back to the core campus, thereby enhancing mentoring potential on campus.
The first floor of the new residence hall houses a number of common spaces, including a new café and retail establishments along the main pedestrian artery on campus. A special classroom, dedicated to living and learning functions, is located at the heart of the first floor and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. On the upper floors there are communal lounges and spaces at key intersections, to create zones for interaction, learning, and socialisation.
The building volume is inspired by traditional residence halls on campus and is arranged around courtyards that promote a transition from the main green area to the residential areas. The layout provides direct connections from the classroom and lounges to the courtyards, to encourage integration between indoor and outdoor functions and spaces.
The architectural palette for the hall takes up the features of the campus—brick with limestone accents—and opens up to the communal spaces by means of extensive glazing along the first-floor public spaces and the lounges on the residential floors. The new residence hall and a new Centre for Student Excellence and Leadership, also designed by Sasaki, frame a major new campus green designed to support informal recreation and provide a centre for outdoor community life in the district.
The building and landscaping were designed in order to achieve LEED Gold certification.