Gallaudet Living and Learning Residence Hall

The Gallaudet University Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new Living and Learning Residence Hall (LLRH6) at its May 2010 meeting. The $18.5 million project is due for completion in the fall of 2012 is the first new building in Gallaudet’s long-term plan to renew the University’s student housing accommodations.

LLRH6 is being designed and constructed through an “Integrated Design/Build” process—an innovative and collaborative process that brings together architects, builders, and university stakeholders much sooner and more collaboratively than the traditional “Design, Bid, Build” method. The “Integrate Design/Build” process allows for delivery of the new building months sooner and at a lower cost than the traditional approach. The LLRH6 Design/Build Team (DBT) was selected following a six-week competition between four finalist teams selected from an initial pool of 12 highly qualified teams of architects and building contractors.

Between August 2010 and October 2010, a group of more than 30 Gallaudet students, faculty, and staff met periodically with the four DBT’s to collaborate on various design options for the new residence hall. The competition resulted in the selection of Sigal Construction/LTL Architects/Quinn Evans Architects for its practical and sophisticated response to project-specific requirements and site context.

The five-story concept skillfully weaves the building to the sloping feature of the site accompanied by an architectural representation compatible with the Victorian Gothic styles of the historic areas of campus as well as the more modern styles that surround the site. The exterior materials of brick and slate as well as the syncopated window pattern and sloped roof portion of the building resemble the older buildings on campus. Wood is used throughout the project to create a warm, home-like feel.

Large gathering spaces and academic spaces are located on the ground floor facing toward the center of campus known as the mall. The main social space is a terraced room that steps down with the site to provide multiple small group study areas or a single room with good sightlines for a large gathering for movie night or lectures. The room is welcoming with built-in wood seating and a high ceiling and an expanse of windows that allow clear visual connection to the main campus mall beyond.

The CoLab is a flexible studio space located on the ground floor at the northern end of the building with fold-up doors facing an outdoor gathering space on the mall and toward the Washburn Arts building. In good weather students working on shared projects may open the doors. Activities can spill out onto the mall creating an indoor-outdoor living feature. The space is designed to operate much like an artist studio or a garage to allow students the space and flexibility to engage in creative projects together.

The secured upper floors provide shared suite-style bedroom units, Resident Advisor and faculty apartments. Each floor features a social space with kitchens located at the open central stairwell envisioned as the social heart of the residential floors. An exercise room and laundry co-located on the second floor will make these areas a social gathering place.