Text description provided by the architects. When Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) approached Analogue Studio to transform a decommissioned library into a vibrant and sustainable student center, we saw an opportunity to bring the campus community together. The new Green Center for Student Success needed to house a disparate combination of student groups from ROTC to the Women’s Center; and student services offices from Residence Life to the Academic Advising. With each group in their own suite, it was our challenge to create a palpable sense of community within the building. Embracing their future-focused approach to higher education, the University and design team saw an opportunity to transform the building from an energy liability to a sustainable asset and create the first LEED certified building on campus. The school’s New England setting weaves throughout the design, with a palette that evokes fall foliage, and a new entrance canopy wrapped in rich wood tones.
Located at the center of the Campus Green and along a major pedestrian walkway, the Center for Student Success offered an opportunity to anchor the green and create a sense of place. We reoriented the building entrance from what was the rear to face the Campus Green by adding a monumental portal in scale with the Campus Green and a premiere Event Space that is accessible to the entire campus.
With ten different user groups sharing the same building, we felt it was essential to design the Student Services Center to encourage them to get them out of their suites and interact with one another. Working closely with the University, we conducted an in-depth programming study, including interviews with all of the building’s stakeholders, and multiple iterations on test plans and adjacency analysis. This led to the design of shared conference rooms to encourage users to travel to opposite ends of the building. Most of the suites open onto a central ‘piazza;’ a space combining dining, study, lounge and meeting spaces where members from all corners of the campus community feel welcome to gather.
To create a flagship for sustainable construction on campus, we worked closely with the university to identify opportunities to integrate sustainable practices to minimize the building’s environmental impact within the available budget. By stripping the building to its structural bones, replacing the entire envelope with high-performance metal panels, curtain wall and storefronts systems, skylights and insulated and reflective roof, we improved thermal performance and minimized energy costs. New HVAC units improved performance drastically while minimizing energy costs and eliminating harmful refrigerants. Low flow fixtures and water efficient landscaping limit the building’s water use. From sustainable finishes and wood products, to low VOC adhesives and paints, we specified materials that minimized waste of natural resources and maximized comfort of the building’s occupants. With these strategies, the Green Center is on track to achieve LEED Silver certification, and provides an example of how a highly sustainable renovation can be achieved on a modest budget.