Text description provided by the architects. On a site that faces the main thoroughfare of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Deborah Berke Partners designed this new residence hall at Dickinson College to present a formal front to the street and a more casual face to a lawn (and future quadrangle) to the south. Stone facades on the public side provide a modern interpretation of the stone of the historic Dickinson campus across the street.
“We had two objectives: first to add something new to Dickinson's historic campus, a building that provides for both distinctiveness and continuity, and second to reinforce the college's residential life goals, primarily to create a rich, diverse, and ultimately flexible community,” said Maitland Jones, a partner at Deborah Berke Partners.
The building, which achieved LEED Platinum certification, is the college’s first new residence hall in more than forty years.
“We embraced Dickinson College’s commitment to sustainable design and combined it with our commitment to social sustainability to create a residential community environment that complements academic life,” said Rhoda Kennedy, a principal at Deborah Berke Partners. “The performance of the building and the site is an educational tool for the occupants, and observing how the social dynamic of the residents will evolve over time will be an educational tool for the College to plan its future growth.”
On the lawn side, Deborah Berke Partners designed an active and light-filled “campus-connected” facade of large windows and weathered-zinc panels. Whereas the front of the building is at home among Dickinson’s historic buildings, the back activates its environs and fills the building with light.
The building’s E-shaped plan creates a pair of intimate outdoor courtyards for casual gatherings. The high-performance landscape, designed by Andropogon, manages stormwater on-site. Inside, sky lit staircases encourage active movement though the building. Hallways double as social spaces with lounge areas and study nooks.
The Residence Hall provide housing for 129 students, including resident advisors, and one apartment, along with generous social spaces to promote community within the residence hall, and to serve the entire campus.