2012 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards

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McMurtry & Duncan Colleges | Notes of Interest

The project is designed in the collegiate quadrangle tradition. Seven buildings, totaling 275,800 square feet, are woven together with shaded arcades and existing tree-lined walks into a sensitive historic corner of campus. Together, they create a careful composition and hierarchy of buildings and spaces, in keeping with the order of the original campus plan by [Ralph Adams] Cram, Foodhue & Ferguson. The result is an example of designers working within historic context yet reinterpreting the vocabulary in a contemporary and sustainable way.

Residential accommodation for 650 students is provided on upper floors, which are highly modular while offering different bedroom types. The top floor also features a large-shaded outdoor terrace with green plantings. Each quad is completed by a “commons,” or dining space, the communal heart of the colleges. Built as independent volumes with their own shape and character, each has a visible timber structure holding the roof in place in an elegant manner. One servery provides food service to both colleges. Two master’s houses complete the community. Particularly innovative is the use of specially designed prefabricated bathroom pods in the residences. The pods’ uniqueness, practicality, and affordability led to their inclusion in a special exhibit at New York’s MOMA.

The choice of self-finished and durable materials will require little maintenance over time. Both colleges achieved a USGBC LEED Gold rating.

The project team encouraged a collaborative process that drew on input from every part of the university community to ensure the project’s success.

Additional Credit

  • Contractor: Linbeck Group, L.P.
  • Engineer: Haynes Whaley Associates; Walter P. Moore
  • Food Service: Worrell Design Group
  • Landscape Architect: Office of James Burnett
  • MEP: CHP & Associates
  • Prefabricated Bathroom Pods: GRP Construction and Kullman Buildings Corp.

Photo Credit

  • © Robert Benson Photography

McMurtry & Duncan Colleges

Category Four: Specialized Housing

Jury Comments

The buildings are strong on their own, but combined they’re even better. The community dining is beautiful. Love the tree columns and how they pick up on the trees surrounding the building. The planning fits like a glove. The communal spaces were really beautiful and for a student residence they act as magnets and seem to be exactly what residential living should be for college.

They’ve used a fairly contemporary typology and found a way to have it fit a green agenda. The materials create a hierarchy of structure that provides a nice contrast amongst the structures.

2012 AIA Housing Awards Jury

  • Sandra A. LaFontaine, AIA, Chair
  • LaFontaine Architecture and Design
  • Worthington, Ohio
  • Allison Arieff
  • New York Times
  • San Francisco
  • Sara E. Caples, AIA
  • Caples Jefferson Architects
  • New York City
  • Jerome King, FAIA
  • The Office of Jerome King
  • San Jose, Calif.
  • Bill Moore, AIA
  • Sprocket Design Build, Inc.
  • Denver

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