Text description provided by the architects. 330 Cooper Street at Rutgers University-Camden was designed with the intention of boosting on-campus enrollment and revitalizing the city’s downtown. The 12-story building was the first new student housing in Camden in more than two decades and was designed to house 350 students and includes 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. This housing and retail complex brings new energy to the urban campus and creates critical mass intended to expand to surrounding downtown Camden, encouraging future development.
In the mid-1800s, Cooper Street was one of Camden’s most prestigious thoroughfares, lined with beautiful mansions, estates, and gardens. By the late 20th century, its aspect had changed from quiet residential to predominantly institutional and commercial uses which, until recently, was dominated by vacant homes and crumbling factories.
The project was developed to reflect upon this historical nature of the surrounding area. 330 Cooper Street is creating graduate student housing and adopts a stark industrial form to serve as a backdrop to a more intimately scaled streetscape with ground floor retail and residential loft units above, consistent with the 19th-century use patterns.
The retail space, defining the building at street level, re-establishes a language of the community, greeting pedestrians and residents alike. An energy efficient envelope design, coupled with a second floor green-roof terrace, make the design a sustainable addition to the city. Through innovative building practices, coalesced with a distinct neighborhood vernacular, the project takes part in revitalizing Camden’s community while creating a distinct college environment.