Elon University: Global Neighborhood

Project Description

Global Neighborhood includes five residence halls housing 600 students and one 30,000-square-foot multi-purpose Amenities Building on the shore of Lake Mary Nell. This innovative hybrid-housing complex is a premiere global education residential complex and hosts several pilot initiatives for Elon. The five residence halls are named for rivers around the world, and feature living/learning communities and themed housing for performing and creative arts, international learning and world languages, and leadership and entrepreneurship.

Project Details

  • Client Elon University
  • Location Elon, NC View map
  • Sq. ft. 248,108
  • Completed 2014

Over the past three decades, Elon University has been one of the great success stories in higher education, earning national accreditations for academic programs and accolades including “Most Beautiful Campus” and “Number One School to Watch.”

The University’s strategic plans have guided this development and the campus master plans, completed by the architect in 1990, 2000, and 2010, have provided a road map for the physical evolution of campus. As part of their 2010 plan, Elon…

Over the past three decades, Elon University has been one of the great success stories in higher education, earning national accreditations for academic programs and accolades including “Most Beautiful Campus” and “Number One School to Watch.”

The University’s strategic plans have guided this development and the campus master plans, completed by the architect in 1990, 2000, and 2010, have provided a road map for the physical evolution of campus. As part of their 2010 plan, Elon University worked with the architect to outline an ambitious housing plan that would revolutionize the student experience on campus. Guided by Elon’s strategic visioning, the firm has designed 14 new residence halls to help the University to reach its goal of 75 percent on-campus residency.

The Global Neighborhood includes five residence halls housing 600 students and one 30,000-square-foot multi-purpose Amenities Building on the shore of Lake Mary Nell. This innovative hybrid-housing complex is a premiere global education residential complex and hosts several pilot initiatives for Elon. The five residence halls are named for rivers around the world, and feature living/learning communities and themed housing for performing and creative arts, international learning and world languages, and leadership and entrepreneurship. Some of their signature programming includes a Global Experience class for all first-year students, relevant academic programming, monthly house dinners between students and faculty, theme-based events such as international film screenings or guest lectures, and social events. Some of the residential homes even have adopted refugee families for whom the students gather and collaborate on service and fundraising projects. To accommodate this programming, the residential halls include classrooms, study rooms, multi-purpose rooms, and apartments for live-in faculty members whose specialties correspond with the academic theme of the building.

The design of the complex aids in its successful programming. Global Neighborhood is sited at the core of campus, making it a focal point for student activity. The complex replaces several 50’s-era, utilitarian residence halls seemingly placed haphazardly, without consideration for the site’s context. In stark contrast, this complex was specifically designed with community in mind and its building placement defines outdoor spaces. The building design and varied massing reflects classic proportions of Georgian architecture. The first floor of each residence hall is a public space for students, and features classrooms, study rooms, and public amenities. The upper floors consist of several styles of rooms and suites, with lounges at the ends of each corridor near the main stairwells. A transparent curtainwall allows the lounges to become a place where students can see and be seen from within the Global Neighborhood complex. Residence halls are purposefully arranged around the main Amenities Building, which includes classrooms, offices, and a dining facility. Its expansive multi-purpose space is primarily used as a study and gathering space for students; however, its flexible layout and furniture allow the room to be transformed into the Grand Hall – a 1,500-person conference center space for large gatherings and events. This complex uses urban planning principles to create a diverse community on Elon’s campus – one that promotes the University’s mission of educating the whole student, nurturing a life-long love of learning, and preparing students to become global citizens.

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