Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York City, has its main campus in the Rose Hill section of The Bronx. Sasaki undertook a master plan for the university with a special focus on residential life and student life. These investigations yielded a vision for an upper-classmen residential complex and a student life precinct that will combine a new campus center with all of the university’s recreational and athletic facilities. Sasaki provided the full range of services to Fordham including planning, architecture and landscape architecture.
The campus’s main entry point is formed by the intersection of East Fordham Road and the Metro-North commuter rail line. While anchored on one side by the William D. Walsh Family Library, this entrance lacked another building that could make it a true celebratory gateway to the 85-acre Fordham campus. Two new upper classmen residential halls designed by Sasaki now provide this missing link and create 460 new beds on campus. They also complete the university’s main quadrangle, which was previously open on one side.
An historic pedestrian path along the gateway is articulated with a new allée of oak trees, which also links to a curvilinear strand of oaks in the main quadrangle. The buildings themselves are set on “terraces.” Closest to the gateway, the terraces are a hardscape with a sidewalk café overlooking the quad; gradually, this “public” zone gives way to varied paving patterns, more trees and a greener and more intimate zone that includes a quiet courtyard formed between the new halls and an older residential building immediately adjacent.
Each building is articulated into two towers with a shared lobby. This strategy yields smaller floor plates with shorter corridors and fosters a higher degree of socialization among the residents, reinforcing Fordham’s focus on building communities. At the heart of each tower are double-height lounges that offer opportunities for socialization between students of two consecutive floors. The southern building, to be named Campbell Hall, expresses these social spaces on the exterior by a fully glazed tower structure that will be a new beacon on campus, a contemporary interpretation of a celebrated architectural feature at Fordham.
Beyond the lobby, the first floor level in both buildings accommodates a series of spaces dedicated to a strong living & learning program. Two integrated Learning Centers, a Multi-function room, and a Café are strung along an arcaded space (inspired by cloisters) and open up numerous opportunities for scheduled and casual interaction. The laundry rooms are also located on the first floor, adjacent to casual study areas and benefiting from abundant natural light. The arcade transitions to the outside terraces that overlook the main green and provide for strong connectivity between residential and campus communities, an essential aspect of the vibrant campus environment at Fordham.