The Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Student Center is designed to be distinctive, projecting an image of a contemporary, forward-thinking university. It is a dynamic anchor for student life and fulfills the need for places to study, collaborate and interact with faculty. The Center offers an expansive new dining hall, offices for student activities and multicultural student services, a Cultural Center, and meeting rooms for student organizations and the Student Senate.
In depth design-build client collaboration
The shared goal was to create an inspired environment for meeting functional needs: a high-energy hub uniting the north and south sides of campus for resident and commuter students, faculty, and staff to gather, deliberate, dine, relax, and build community. Wight & Company over several years led protracted design, schedule, and budget engagement with all stakeholders, evolving multiple conceptual studies over several years until consensus crystallized and the client’s expectations were exceeded.
Architectural poetry of structural engineering
The final design pays tribute to the university’s aviation and aeronautics heritage. Evoking the spirit of a high-bay aircraft hangar, the design incorporates a structural system resembling the cable-and-strut construction of vintage airplanes. An acrobatic biplane is suspended above the main dining room as a reminder of Lewis’s renowned aviation legacy. Sustainable features include abundant daylit spaces, high efficiency glazing and MEP systems, and indoor/outdoor student spaces.
Employing a spectrum of Wight’s expertise
Wight provided architecture, interior design/furniture selection, civil engineering, structural engineering, mechanical/electrical/plumbing/fire protection engineering, sustainability, pre-construction, cost modeling/ estimating, and construction management services.
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