The Penn State Brandywine campus—an entirely commuter school—currently serves over 1,500 students. The school’s goal for the next few years is to transform their campus culture and embrace on-campus residence, and that means the completion of a new residence hall complex.
But they’re not just putting up a residential hall. This transition and growth will need support spaces—and that’s where we came in. Our job was to design a new 31,000 square foot Student Union, a centralized dining option with a range of student support services for commuters and residents alike. Alongside full residential dining services, the new Student Union will include meeting rooms, a bookstore, health and wellness services, lounge areas, student affairs, and a student organizations office.
The Student Union design takes advantage of a steeply sloped site to create and focus views toward natural features. The dining room directs views to the wooded landscape and nature walk leading to the future residence hall. The main student lounge affords a view of the campus lawn and provides a glowing beacon of activity at night. The first floor student lounge faces the new residence halls, openly inviting students to join the fun.
The Penn State Brandywine Student Union will be the epicenter of student life on campus, opening in fall 2017.