Text description provided by the architects. Acting as a gateway building to the Hillside District at the University of Rhode Island, the new 429-bed Hillside Hall by LLB Architects is a dynamic new model for student housing. The building remains permeable at the ground level to enhance pedestrian interconnectivity while maintaining universal accessibility. Two bar-shaped wings are sited along the sloping hillside and connected by a glass bridge which houses stacked sky lounges and a monumental circulation stair. Light floods the interior and is animated with a rhythmic pattern of colored glass, creating a diverse array of shadows that constantly change.
The organizing principle of the design integrates existing campus alignments to create unique cantilevers, ledges, and intersections. The two residential wings are cracked open to allow natural light into the double-loaded corridor which terminates with transparent glazing. These moments at the grid intersections become collaborative study lounges for the student residents and contribute to the Living and Learning Community. The configuration of bedroom clusters around lounges promotes a sense of identity and community within the larger complex, reinforcing the social fabric of Hillside Hall within the residential district.
The most effective method to achieve a green building comes from a holistic approach to sustainability. Solar hot water system, exterior sun shading and sun screens, operable windows for maximized natural ventilation, light reflecting roofing materials with demonstration green roof, rigorously designed and engineered building envelope with maximum insulation, and materials chosen for high recycled content obtained regionally, all contribute to the building’s overall sustainability. Uphill water is captured in a series of rain gardens that collect and filter water through a sequence of above ground water retention basins. Permeable pavers, reflective site materials, and extensive new site plantings all contribute to a self-sustaining landscape. Through a comprehensive strategy, the project sets new standards for environmentally friendly residence hall design.