Phase 1 – First-Year Student Residence Hall and Student Commons Echo Collaboration

Rendering: Aerial view west along Evans Avenue, shows the new student commons (student union) replacing Driscoll North and the new first-year student residence halls to the far west.

Yesterday, we revealed details of the DU Career Achievement Center/Alumni center. Today, we are showing the first-year student residence hall and the Student Commons (student union). 

First-year students will live in dual ‘canyon inspired’ residence halls that run along High Street. The north-south dual structures snake their way behind the Morgridge School of Education building north to the corner of Asbury and High Streets. An elevated glass walkway connects the two first-year residence halls.

canyon looking north
This view from Morgridge north shows the dual residence halls with glass walkway bridge.

The five-story buildings will have ‘pods’ or clusters of rooms to create a sense of community. Typically, each pod has 12 rooms. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors will have 6 pods and the 5th floor will contain 3 pods. The first floor would provide typical residential services such as laundry, food, and additional rooms for recreation and meetings.

level 3
The non-linear design and pods are intended to create more intimate living space for first-year students.

The student union, now identified as the Student Commons, is going to replace Driscoll North. Situated between Evans Avenue and Sturm Hall, the building will connect with the current walkway over Evans Avenue and support student activity, clubs and Student Life. As with the new Career Achievement Center building, the design will be more contemporary and open and provide additional space for meetings and student-led events. And, like the Career Achievement Center, the roof will also have green space (required by a recently passed Colorado construction law for commercial buildings) and pavilions which will provide elevated views of the campus and the mountains to the west.

facade studies
The design and style of the new Phase 1 buildings are a big change from the Dan Ritchie era of Ivy League facades. However, expect various construction materials to visually connect the buildings. 

The first floor provides for event spaces, community clusters, meeting space.and administrative functions. The second level will provide for food service and additional event space. Student services, clubs, and organizations will reside on the third level. And, finally, the rooftop deck and green space will be a more informal place for students to gather.

level 1 forums and clusters
The first-floor layout is typical of all the floors in the building with ample room for study, meetings and interaction.

Again, architectural design queus will continue to play off many of the more traditional buildings currently on campus (stonework, sandstone colors) but the primary objective of this building is to provide a more inviting space for students to spend time on the campus grounds.

level 4 roof pavilions
The roof will meet Denver’s new commercial green roof regulations while also acting as a meeting space.

Again, all of these Phase 1 improvements – the Career Achievement Center & Alumni center, first-year student residence halls and the Student Commons are all in support of the Denver Advantage, part of DU’s strategic 2025 plan which is intended to bring people together and encourage collaboration and engagement on the DU campus.