NSU Student Center

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Client: Northern State University Date of Completion: 2000 Area: 38,500 s.f. Renovation 4,700 s.f. Addition Introduction This Student Union expansion and reconfiguration gives Northern State University a state-of-the-art student and campus services center and strengthens the Northern State University campus image. A new one and one half story pedestrian mall integrates two formerly disconnected floor levels and unifies the disparate architecture of several additions to create a welcoming new front door to the campus. Program Programming work sessions with Northern State University administrators, faculty, staff and students identified a series of objectives for this renovation and expansion: •Increase space available for student services •Provide flexible meeting space •Improve food service facilities to increase appeal to students •Reestablish the Union as the focal point of student activity on campus •Reinforce the primary pedestrian entrance to campus •Create a cohesive image for the Union

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Site Memorial Union, originally constructed in 1960, had been expanded and remodeled several times, but no longer adequately fulfilled its important role on campus. The split level building had only one major entrance; its space was poorly organized and its services difficult to find. Its interiors were dark and uninviting; on its exterior, three different types of brick exemplified its lack of cohesion. The University had been considering adding a second story to increase available space, while leaving much of the rest of the building untouched. The Architect demonstrated that a much smaller addition and a more extensive renovation could accomplish more at the same cost.

CAMPUS PLAN

The design adds a pedestrian mall along the south side of the existing building. The addition wraps the existing building to create a cohesive image. Balancing the Beulah Williams Library to the south, the new Union establishes the northern pillar of a strong, western gateway to the campus, providing access from the primary campus parking lot to the University’s quadrangle. In northeastern South Dakota’s cool climate, the mall invites people approaching campus into the Union and offers convenient access to the services available there.

FORMER ENTRANCE FORMER POST OFFICE

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FORMER DINING ROOM

The facility, although expanded and remodeled several times, no longer provided the access and the space required to service the needs of the campus. The interior was dark and uninviting.

LOWER FLOOR – “BEFORE”

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1 PROMENADE 2 KITCHEN 3 SERVING 4 DINING 5 PATIO 6 INFORMATION 7 CYBER CAFÉ 8 POST OFFICE 9 NIGHTCLUB 10 BOOKSTORE 11 GRAHAM HALL

INFORMATION

DINING

LOWER FLOOR

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INFORMATION

UPPER CORRIDOR

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LOUNGE

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FORMER SIDE ENTRY

Three different types of brick on the exterior exemplified a lack of cohesion.

UPPER FLOOR – “BEFORE”

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1 PROMENADE 2 GALLERY/LOUNGE 3 CONFERENCE/SEMINAR 4 GRAHAM HALL 5 MULTIUSE 6 STUDENT SERVICES

GALLERY/LOUNGE Building The space of the building is organized in three layers: The first layer is the new pedestrian mall, an active circulation spine providing convenient access to activities on the two floors of the Union. Large south facing windows create a sense of rhythm and movement and bring natural light into the building. The second layer is an open and flexible transitional space between the mall and the functions located in the third layer. It is lounge, dining room, gallery and gathering area. The south wall of this space (the former exterior wall) is opened to the sunlit mall. Its east end is opened to provide views into the quad. Its north wall is a composition of wood and glass which provides an integrated faรงade for the third layer of space.

UPPER FLOOR

The third layer comprises the many specialized functions of the Union: the bookstore, post office, nightclub, kitchen and serving area on the lower level and student services offices and flexible meeting rooms on the upper level.

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ELEVATIONS

SOUTHWEST ENTRANCE

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Systems Complex new mechanical and electrical systems designed to serve the diverse needs of the Union are woven into the low floor to floor structure of the existing building while maintaining appropriate ceiling heights.

1 PROMENADE 2 VESTIBULE

PROMENADE 1 PROMENADE 2 GALLERY 3 PENTHOUSE 4 FOOD PREP 5 SERVING 6 DINING

SECTIONS

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Campus Response “This was the turning point of the building being utilized as it should be. Students, faculty and staff are making remarkable use of this building now … Every person who has not been on campus for awhile and now comes back to set foot into this building is amazed of its beauty and functional building space made available for all to appreciate,” Wayne Fischer, Director of Physical Plant, Northern State University.

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PROMENADE

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