Located at the center of campus, two new classroom buildings frame the nexus of student interchange where two primary pedestrian paths cross at an existing plaza. Tied together by a new sustainable landscape inspired by the agrarian past, the buildings provide a home for five social sciences and humanities departments and house a total of 40 new high technology classroom facilities, ranging from a 400-seat lecture hall to small seminar rooms, as well as 12 specialized departmental teaching spaces. The design challenge was to create two animated student magnet buildings to reinforce the central pedestrian crossroads of Fairfield and Academic Way, and to address a number of campus master-planning objectives. These include reinforcing Academic Way as the main north-south pedestrian corridor, realigning Fairfield Way, reflecting pedestrian desire lines, developing an articulated hierarchy of spaces and paths, densifying the built campus core, and creating a humane campus in scale, function, and materials. Oak Hall emphasizes Academic Way as the primary north-south walkway, strengthening its shift in direction by projecting into Fairfield Way; at this junction it helps frame the Library Plaza as the heart of the campus. A similar projection of Laurel Hall into Fairfield Way helps to create a narrower, more pedestrian-friendly walkway from the Library Plaza to the Student Union Circle. The central lobby space of Laurel Hall follows the diagonal path that leads from the Library Plaza to the Student Union dining areas. Oak and Laurel Halls provide a series of memorable outdoor spaces, including new connected courtyards and a green roof respectively. Laurel Hall completes the boundary of the Student Union Quadrangle and defines it as the most significant open space within the campus. Dividing the total program into two volumes allows the massing of each building to be reduced to better relate to neighboring buildings and the pedestrian scale. Glass enclosed lobbies and walkways at ground level create welcoming entrances and the impression of permeability.
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