Westfield State University, University Hall & Ely Hall
The 411 bed University Hall occupies a thin parcel of land between a wooded bluff, overlooking the Berkshires and the main campus quadrangle. Its proximity to both the quadrangle and Ely Hall, the Student Union helps to activate the site and offers opportunities for outdoor social interaction. A large plaza space physically connects through the portal of the building, gesturing towards the wooded slope and Berkshires beyond. A large outdoor gas hearth offers a social hub for gathering and extends the outdoor season, providing a welcoming interface to campus. Stone serpentine seatwalls wrap through the woods at the precipice of the slope. The form not only provides pockets of seating but is also emblematic of Westfield’s history as the “Whip City” when in the 19th century it was the center of buggy whip production.
Modifications to Ely Hall were also a part of the project exposing the lower level of Ely to natural daylight and adding an entrance & storefront. Working closely with the architects, Wagner Hodgson sculpted the land in front of Ely creating stair access, an ADA compiant route and a mid level plaza with stadium seating. The resulting design solution sculpturally solves an access issue and creates another campus spot for gathering. LEED Gold Certification - US Green Building Council.