January 20th is the day UDC will celebrate the grand opening of its brand new student center at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street. But first, the university invited DC media in for a sneak peek.
Among the highlights: The clock tower doubles as a “chimney” designed to draw smoke out of the building in a fire emergency. The staircase rises to a patio overlooking Connecticut Avenue. This area and a green roof collect rain water which is used to flush the toilets in the bathrooms. A large unobstructed outdoor passageway connects the student center to Dennard Plaza within campus. Events that are held on Dennard Plaza, such as the annual Green Living Expo, will have a direct connection to Connecticut Avenue.
The building is designed to be a home-away-from-home for the students, a majority of whom are commuters. But some of the amenities will be open to the public, including a convenience store and outdoor seating areas.
In other words, the neighborhood is finally getting its piazza (which was on the wish list of a couple of long-time residents).
[Designer Michael] Marshall said the building’s design carries influence from a trip he took to Italy as a student at Catholic. A clock tower atop the student center is the focal point of a plaza where students will be able to sit on warm days, reminiscent of the famous Italian “piazzas” of Rome and Venice. –The Washington Post
The AFRO news magazine highlights Marshall’s roots as a 1970s UDC graduate.
When Michael Marshall was as an architecture student at the University of the District of Columbia in 1975, the school was still under construction. Now as a graduate, one of his greatest feats was being able to give back to his alma mater, he said.
The Washington Business Journal focuses on the architectural features.