Case Study

The Ohio State University North Residential District Transformation New Live Learn Community Prepares Students for Success

Columbus, Ohio, USA

The Challenge

HKS was challenged to satisfy the gargantuan need for additional residence halls and accompanying infrastructure and facilities since Ohio State University now requires sophomores to live on campus. The project had to be accomplished while classes are in session. The HKS Team was chosen after an intense competitive review process, during which the team identified $26 million in savings to the university.

The Design Solution

The North Residential District Transformation project consists of 11 new buildings and the addition of new entries to three existing residential towers with the goal of creating distinct centers of activity for the students, defining the district’s edge and establishing the new North Campus Gateway. The design delivers high-quality, efficient residential facilities that will enhance the student experience on campus. Ohio State’s “Live Learn” initiative, the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), focuses on enhancing the education of students beyond the classroom. This program creates a unique living environment designed to incorporate the elements of student success, programmatic needs, architectural innovation and student and faculty interaction. Design elements include ground-floor transparency and ambient light to create a safer environment for pedestrians and encourage interior and exterior activity spaces. Residences are located on upper floors, while ground floors are dedicated to common and STEP spaces, creating controlled access to support security, highlight neighborhood activities and provide live-learn areas for student and faculty interaction. Students are encouraged to leave their “no-frills” dorms and socialize by the juxtaposed engaging common areas. The recreation center was designed by HKS with the intention and ability to eventually expand the building and enclose the play courts. It features a three-story atrium, open stairs, full glazed facade, open gym, exterior play courts and several multipurpose rooms. In addition, a 32,000 square-foot (2,972 sm), all-you-can-eat dining hall will seat 950 and a 12,000 square-foot (1,114 sm) retail market diner will seat 180. This project is seeking LEED Silver certification.

The Design Impact

Research shows that students succeed socially and academically when they interact with each other as the design of this project encourages with engaging social areas. It’s one reason why these new residential halls are the most popular on campus, where about 34 percent of Ohio State’s more than 45,000 students live.

Project Features

  • 1,100,390 total square feet (102,229 sm)
  • Nine residence halls with 3,875 beds.
  • Two dining facilities
  • 27,000 square-foot (2,508 sm) recreation center
  • Classrooms
  • Study rooms
  • Computer/Internet HUBS
  • Coffee shops
  • Social lounges
  • Game rooms
  • Event space
  • Seeking LEED Silver certification