Bringing sustainable, equitable, and inclusive housing to WMU
Arcadia Flats, the newest housing development in Western Michigan University’s (WMU) South Neighborhood, was started and completed during a simultaneous master planning effort to reimagine that area of campus. The facility was designed to embody a new approach to residence life that focuses on sustainable design and lifestyle, equitable and inclusive housing for a diverse student body, and a whole-building life-cycle approach to systems thinking.
This 300+ unit residence hall stemmed from the concept of a terrarium whereby residential life thrived within the broader campus ecosystem. The unique lifestyle of the student could be fit to one of five different unit types while sharing the amenities and social spaces with the rest of the community. This approach was coupled with wellness and biophilia, utilizing wood and other natural materials extensively, and drawing emphasis to the stairs in lieu of elevators. All of this was accomplished while assuring every unit, corridor, common space, and public area contained views and natural daylight through operable windows or window wall systems.
This concept of student life sets a benchmark at the university for residential buildings, especially in WMU’s South Neighborhood, and the role such buildings play in the overall student experience on campus.
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