Avila University New Residence Hall, Kansas City, Missouri


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Description: The New Avila University Residence Hall is a three-story, 21-suite all-brick building with 104 bedrooms and a manager's apartment, totaling approximately 37,000 SF with a traditional collegiate appearance that blends the character of the existing, early campus buildings with the most recently built residence hall.

Situated on the northeastern edge of campus in what is the last remaining open space, an "L" shaped building has been created which borders a previously remote parking lot - increasing safety and security for both cars and students. A single, main entrance and common open space faces the parking lot while an upper level entrance at the end of the building provides on-grade access to the campus circulation loop. Additionally, a natural buffer between the building and the adjacent residential streets has been created allowing for a generous, park-like setting and space for a water feature amenity. The site layout also anticipates a future addition that would enhance the site aspects of the project without compromising open space. While the more passive, perimeter open spaces face the neighborhood, the more active open and gathering spaces common to the building face the parking lot and connect to circulation paths of the campus.

The current residence halls range from traditional one to three student bedrooms with common bathroom facilities to four bedroom "suites" with private living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Through extensive dialogue, a new model emerged building on the philosophy of promoting community on campus - bundling typically five bedrooms in one suite with a small common area and a single restroom and accommodating up to seven persons per suite. The bedrooms contain a single bed or double-bunked beds with a desk and a closet for two. Private bathrooms are each equipped with a sink, generous counter space, showers and water closet (situated to allow for multiple use while maintaining privacy), flexible use storage shelving and a second counter area. Each suite's central common area serves as a gathering space with soft lounge chairs, tables and/or desks allowing it to be used for study, socializing, eating or watching a flat screen. AV connections are provided on a central wall to accommodate a wall-hung monitor.

Aside from the suite layouts, each floor was deliberately designed to create free-form spaces that could be configured in different ways as common, community space. Special care was given to the design of all of the common areas for flexibility, starting with the corner of the "L" plan configuration where the elevator is situated - on each floor a large-sized lobby space adjacent to the elevator is located that can be used in numerous and varying ways. The First Floor includes a generous entry vestibule, lobby space with room for an information desk and flexible use space, alcoves, a large, sunlit sunken living room with great views, a large, flexible office type space, a meeting room, common laundry, mail facilities, project room and media room. The Second and Third Floors similarly have generous, free form lobby spaces adjacent to the central elevator for flexible use, pockets of space for smaller seating arrangements and generous "bay-window" alcoves for group meetings or private study. The Second Floor also includes a two-bedroom, self contained, apartment unit for a Residence Manager. The Third Floor has the added convenience of an on-grade entrance facing campus with adjacent accessible suite units.

A number of sustainable, green building features consistent with the USGBC's LEED design criteria were included, such as: low VOC materials, water conserving plumbing fixtures, Green Guard interior finishes and furnishings with recycled materials, the use of local materials, FSC certified wood, rapidly renewable materials, recycling of construction waste, designing for natural daylighting and views, using daylight controlled dimming devices on lights, occupancy sensors, energy efficient light bulbs, individual thermal comfort controls, operable windows in occupied spaces, the control of indoor air contaminants during construction, the use of best practices in storm water management in the site and landscape design as well as water efficient landscaping.