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November 21, 2013
Pullman is a town that has it all. The home of Washington State University’s main campus was named one of the best college towns in America in a 2012 list on the MSN website.
The close connection between the community and university is reflected in new construction on campus. They are interdependent, thriving together.
WSU’s vision for a global university dedicated to excellence shaped its 2012 campus master plan and long-range housing plan. To realize the goal of a thriving university, WSU is enhancing the campus network of open spaces and improving deficient facilities through renovation and new construction. Renewal and replacement of aging buildings and the addition of more green spaces will reinvigorate the undergraduate experience.
Campus housing is one of the first opportunities to impact student recruitment and retention. The $16 million expansion and renovation to the Chief Joseph Village Apartments, which were constructed in 1971, will provide students at the Pullman campus with modern and sustainable apartment housing that fosters student interaction and community.
WSU’s overall goal for Chief Joseph Village is to deliver energy-efficient, single-student apartments in a mix of two- and three-bedroom units that encourage student activities and compete well with off-campus housing options. The complex, which will have 113 units when work is completed in 2016, will offer quiet surroundings, interactive public spaces and attractive housing to undergraduates.
The design-build renovation project consists of several buildings totaling 125,000 square feet and a new 15,000-square-foot residential building. Twenty-one of the apartments will be three-bedroom units with 1,150 square feet of living space, and the remainder will be two-bedroom units with 900 square feet of space.
BNBuilders, with Genus Architecture of Denver and Bernardo Wills Architects of Spokane, designed a contemporary, light-filled and sustainable facility that is pursuing LEED silver certification. Careful attention was given to enhance student interaction in the apartment village through interior and exterior common space. Outdoor areas with fire pits, barbecues, and shared decks and plazas encourage social gathering and provide a variety of shared space and intimate retreats for residents.
The renovations and additions to Chief Joseph Village represent an excellent opportunity for Washington State University to transform outdated student housing into a vital residential facility for students.
The project will create a student housing community that strengthens the overall connection between students and campus.
The design-build team delivered a solution based on the interconnectivity of the complex, between the buildings, campus and surrounding wetlands. A design was developed to provide a more satisfying living experience for residents, including updated facilities, natural lighting and ample common areas. The design innovations will translate well for future projects on campus.
The apartment decks take advantage of remarkable views, such as the wetlands area to the south. The common spaces function as lanterns to the walkway, drawing residents toward a warm and inviting light on a cold afternoon, or toward a social gathering out on the deck in good weather. One of the goals was to provide a comfortable walking experience with materials and lighting as WSU focuses on creating a truly pedestrian campus.
Gas fire pit areas attract residents to the areas between buildings. Additionally, barbecue areas bridge the units and enable the students to socialize and connect with friends. The common space to the south can be used for group study and has a media center and pool table.
The apartment units offer options for residents requiring enhanced accessibility. They also have amenities such as laundry facilities and storage. Better living spaces and proximity to the core campus make these very attractive units as more students decide to live on campus.
The design was greatly influenced by the desire to maintain the historic legacy and core campus character. Lap siding preserves consistency and metal trims modernize the look. Inspiration for the composition was taken from the colors and forms of Native American craftwork, including quillwork, painting and basketry.
The new building takes architectural integration one step further by integrating the roofs into a single gable, with a long end over the common space. Grade is raised at the ground floor units to create a nestled structure similar to the effect of the original Chief Joseph apartments.
The Chief Joseph Village renovation achieves WSU’s housing, planning and sustainability goals while providing students with an enriched college experience.
Jim Charpentier, principal of BNBuilders, has more than 15 years of experience in the education sector in Washington.
Scott Jay, a project executive at BNBuilders, has spent his career delivering education projects in Washington.