Project DescriptionIn the heart of William Paterson University’s rolling, wooded campus in Wayne, New Jersey, the new University Hall defines and reinvigorates an edge of the academic zone. The new building sets the tone for all future master plan development which focuses on renewal of an ageing academic core. Tasked by the administration with “creating a sense of place; a visual hive of social activity, intellectual investigation and cross-campus interaction” NK Architects responded with a building focused on themes of openness, transparency and connectivity to achieve those goals.
University Hall is the new home for the departments of Nursing, Public Health and Communication Disorders. A combination of general academic classrooms, nursing simulation labs and academic offices are anchored by a café, generous unscheduled collaborative spaces and a three-story common social spine. These programmatic elements give the building a rich cross-section of users and spaces that result in an interactive social hub that is widely used by the University community throughout the day.
The building has become the campus’ go-to place to study, collaborate with peers on a project or, simply, to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the many “see-and-be-seen” opportunities afforded by the design. Visual connection is an important part of that design to reinforce the University’s goal of creating places that encourage informal and unexpected interaction; on display are both the students relaxing in the common areas as well as learning in the laboratories, classrooms and the exciting new teaching pedagogies being tested out in the technology-rich Active Learning Classrooms.
In addition to providing an open and interactive atmosphere, numerous sustainable design principles such as ample day lighting and a focus on energy, resource and material efficiency will help the building achieve the University’s goal of a LEED™ Gold Certified building.