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Syracuse University, Shaw Residence Hall Site Renovations


Syracuse, NY


1,100 sf (Entrance Addition); 129,000 sf Residence Hall Renovation

Shaw Hall was an organizational challenge driven by safety, security, and programmatic goals to meet current student expectations. Prominently located on a corner site across from the academic campus, the mid-block entrance unfortunately triggered jaywalking across three busy traffic lanes. The second-level residential entrance also provided access to the dining hall, which separates the residence hall on two levels.

Syracuse University’s goal was to prohibit unsecured access from dining onto residential floors and conversely reduce residents’ traversing through dining. Full accessibility for disabled persons was paramount, as it was limited only to the entrance. Building systems were beyond life expectancy; materials and finishes were dated and worn. Small, sparsely distributed lounge areas were inadequate with laundry and recreational spaces located in below-grade ground-floor spaces.

Replacing an abandoned second-level terrace, the entrance addition provides a monumental stair and elevator dedicated to the second-level dining hall. The addition’s contemporary glass and rainscreen façade is integrated with landscape features connecting pedestrians diagonally from the primary corner intersection. Building residents pass through the same entrance addition directly into the revitalized ground floor, greeted by reception offices near new mailboxes and multi-purpose rooms plus renovated laundry facilities. A 6-stop elevator near the entrance provides accessibility to residential levels.

Organizing features are the paired two-story atriums, thematically highlighting and vertically connecting three levels with natural light and consistent, durable, accent materials. Original ganged gender-specific bathrooms are replaced by clustered all-gender bathrooms which have durable, attractive and easily maintained surfaces. The bathroom clusters in each wing are stacked and replicated vertically for efficiency, eliminating plumbing traps from student rooms. Previously exposed utilities in hallways and rooms, such as sprinkler pipes and electrical conduits, are now concealed in bedroom soffits above built-in wardrobes. LED lighting is provided throughout, including duplicate fixtures in shared bedrooms allowing individual control for each student. The result is a contemporary building welcoming Syracuse University’s first year students.

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