ADD Inc Reinterprets the Traditional College Campus by Modernizing Westfield State University’s Ely Campus Center and University Hall

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Designed by ADD Inc, Westfield State University's new, open, collaborative spaces reflect today’s college student’s lifestyle.

ADD Inc, a premier architecture and design firm, recently completed the renovation of Westfield State University’s Ely Campus Center and the construction of its new student residence, University Hall, in Westfield, Massachusetts, the largest project of its kind in the college’s history.

Ely Campus Center’s renovation, totaling 37,600 square feet, included major upgrades to the college’s student center, the expansion of the fitness area into a new two-story wellness center, and the repurposing of basement space into a new, mixed-use student common area with a new entrance and outdoor terrace. The construction of University Hall totals 139,000 square feet and adds 411-beds to the campus. The architecture and interior design of both buildings directly respond to how today’s students live and learn.

“Students today require more collaborative and interactive learning environments, in and out of the classroom,” stated B.K. Boley, Principal at ADD Inc. “Based upon our surveys, they spend more time in the residence halls and campus centers than in any other locations on campus. We felt we had to go beyond enhancing the school’s facilities and services by designing ‘memorable’ spaces that truly enrich a student’s college experience and strengthen academic life.”

ADD Inc worked with the Massachusetts State College Building Authority (MSCBA), who financed the project, the university’s staff, faculty, and students to incorporate their vision into the two projects.

Ely Campus Center:

Originally built in 1968, Ely Campus Center underwent an extensive $12.3 million renovation. To create a greater sense of space and transparency, ADD Inc removed much of the brick façade, installed double-glazed windows, doubling the exterior glass of the main floors, while introducing natural light and views of the main quad. ADD Inc opened up corridors, reorganized and repurposed underutilized basement space, and created a light-filled facility that connects spaces and creates a unified identity.

Jon Conlogue, Westfield State University’s Executive Director of Residential Services and Campus Life, stated “It was some of the best money Westfield has spent on improving a campus facility since we were able to save the building."

The wall colors used throughout the Ely Campus Center were chosen to convey airiness and augment newly light-filled rooms, and furnishings were selected in deep oranges, greens and blues to communicate vitality.

In order to facilitate camaraderie and allow flexibility, ADD Inc used multifunctional, modular furniture that maximized seating options and accommodated different group sizes.

University Hall:

University Hall features 1, 4 and 6 bedroom suites, including singles and doubles, each with a shared suite bath, living room and kitchenette.

The woods and mountains surrounding University Hall inspired the architecture and interior design of the new building. Designed around the concept of a student’s journey of ‘walking through the woods toward the light’ ADD Inc created a building shaped like “two trees fallen in the forest” with a large arch that leads from a wooded overlook of the Tekoa mountains back to the campus quad.

Inside, student rooms and corridors extend like branches out to study perches in the tree canopy. Ground floor common areas and meeting rooms feel like the forest floor with wooded ceilings and colorful furnishings that evoke “wild flowers”.

Following this theme, the building’s exterior consists of highly textured red and black brick that resembles bark, while the inside communal courtyard is composed of wood-tone panels. The building’s interior space is similarly inspired through the strategic use of dark colors that gradually grow lighter down the corridors into the “branches” of the building.

ADD Inc’s primary objective was to provide diverse units with a variety of common space options that range from a large multi-purpose room for university functions to common lounges and kitchens for socializing to intimate light-filled “perch” lounges that are ideal for quiet study and showcase views of the surrounding woods.

The building’s Grand Arch is an all-glass, floor-to-ceiling, five-story archway with open spaces for student lounging and studying that overlooks the campus with dramatic “window to the world” views of the Tekoa Mountains.

As a nod to today’s environmental concerns and pursuit of LEED Silver certification, green features were used throughout the building, including recycled and regional materials, highly sustainable interface carpet, and reclaimed wood elements were used for the reception desk and for the large bay window seat on the ground floor.

About ADD Inc:
ADD Inc, a premier architecture and design firm, creates award-winning projects across the country from its offices in Boston, MA and Miami, FL. With an innovative spirit and deep expertise, the firm’s design teams develop a guiding vision for each project to enhance value and enrich communities. By merging that vision with collaboration and business savvy, ADD Inc delivers consistently notable results in workplace, mixed use, academic, retail, branding and residential design.

ADD Inc creates environments with an eye to the future and leads a range of initiatives that rethink workplace real estate, develop innovative housing solutions, transform lifestyle hospitality, and create inspiring environments to live and learn. Projects include workplaces for Adobe, Fidelity, and iRobot; the award winning Tree House residence hall for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design; the Gale South Beach and Shelborne South Beach hotels; the Jade Signature tower with Herzog & de Meuron; and residential developments for Gerding Edlen, Archstone, and Related Beal.

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Aimet Oberhausen
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