Feb. 17, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 10

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    Students give feedback on interior of new residence halls

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    As architect Ricardo Legorreta completes his design for the new residence halls’ exterior, College students have been busy thinking about the interior. Earlier this month, students toured room models housed in a Shoreland ballroom.[model] by jason smith

    After gauging closet space, assessing bathrooms and studying furniture arrangements, students generally liked the layout––a floor plan Legorreta designed following his conversations with students and housing staff last year.

    Cheryl Gutman, Director of Housing, and Steve Klass, Deputy Dean of Student Services, will provide the architect with student reactions, which ranged from a need for more electrical outlets to suggestions for Legorreta’s trademark use of color.

    “The major purpose of setting up these rooms is to get a user’s-eye view of what the room feels like, what works and what doesn’t,“ said Klass, noting that such details as lighting fixtures and furniture have not been decided. “This is a work in progress.“ The basic floor plan of the rooms, however, is finished.

    The suites open to a small, common space sandwiched by a split bath. Beyond the common space are doors leading to two separate bedrooms, each of which has one or two beds, closets, a desk and dresser, and a recessed, 5-foot by 5-foot window.

    Students praised the tiled split bath and the room layout. “I think the size is good. If they were bigger than that, then people would end up staying in their bedrooms and that is definitely not what you want first-years to do,“ said third-year Helene Felman. “You want them to be out exploring their new town.“

    However, Legorreta wants students to experience peace and joy while at home. He frequently emphasizes, “The architecture of a building should lift the inhabitants’ spirits.“ Legorreta’s current use of color––pumpkin walls in the common area and eggplant carpeting throughout––elicited positive reactions from most of the students.

    “I think it’s a happy color in general. I prefer it to white walls,“ said second-year Liza Goykhberg. Felman agreed, but added the caveat, “I don’t think it’s going to go over well with students.“ Nearly every student interviewed liked the colors, but none was sure his or her fellow students would agree.

    Kristen Hartmann, a second-year and vice president of Inter-House Council, would like the eggshell white on the bedroom walls in the common area as well. “A lot of people like to put up posters, and I don’t think this color would be a good background for that. I think it would clash,“ said Hartmann.

    Second-year Darcy Lewis would like to see the pumpkin color continue into the bedrooms. “I could get really used to the orange walls,“ said Lewis. “You have no idea––you can go out of your mind staring at that plain white. And besides, the orange would show less dirt.“

    Samir Warty, a first-year and Inter-House Council representative for Salisbury House in Burton-Judson Courts, thinks the use of vibrant color should extend into the bedrooms. With additional color, Warty said, living there “would feel like being in a nice, new, happy sort of place.“

    Gutman said eight houses will be organized within the three buildings, ranging in size from 78 to 106 students each. The new community will have a resident master, and a resident head and at least two resident assistants will be assigned to each house, which also will have its own community lounge.

    Each building will have a commons with a staging kitchen for hall-wide events and a television/recreation room. Plans also are confirmed for a foreign language media commons, computer rooms and soundproof music practice rooms.

    Also finalized are Legorreta’s selections for the exterior of the buildings––rich, ginger brick for the walls and steely gray-blue seam-metal panel for the roofs. The use of brick is designed to gently transition from the Gothic, gray-limestone University buildings to the brick residential buildings in the neighborhood.

    Two courtyards will adjoin the new halls, and each four-story building will have a main entrance, elevator and glass-tower corner element. “Archetypes of Gothic, such as tower elements marking entrances and important spaces, steeply pitched roof lines and framed, punched window openings, are used here to allude to the existing Gothic character of the University’s campus,“ said University Architect Curt Heuring.

    Legorreta’s signature use of color and light will likely be seen in the common areas inside the building.

    Heuring added that Legorreta may come to campus in the near future to discuss in detail his material and color recommendations with interested members of the University community.