Facility Focus (Student Centers)

Emory University: Emory Student Center

Emory University 


The new Emory Student Center (ESC) on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta opened its doors in May. The innovative 130,000-square-foot facility houses an array of student-centered features including a high-tech gaming and recreation lounge; a spacious new food center; a convenience store; and innovative spaces for studying, collaboration, and student engagement.

In addition to providing a central location for student-centered services, the facility contains a large multipurpose space which can morph from a series of six meeting rooms into a sweeping ballroom that can hold up to 1,400 guests, with overflow space for another 200.

The ESC is separated into two distinct pavilions, connected by a windowed walkway. The south pavilion houses office space, the dining commons, and lounges. The north pavilion offers additional office space and lounges, storage space for clubs, and a multipurpose room large enough to seat a class together. To mitigate the project’s tremendous scale for the carefully curated context of Emory’s campus, Duda|Paine Architects positioned large portions of the building underground. This allowed tremendous synergies for operations and back-of-house functions to ensure a seamless student-side experience with striking aesthetics.

The central and highly visible placement of the building’s welcome desk within the design’s transparent, prismatic pavilions supports the desire to activate many campus pathways as means of entry rather than a single main entrance.

A sunshade canopy unifies the individual pavilions that together accommodate growing demand for student-oriented amenities, flexible dining, and space for student organizations, socializing, and gathering.

Duda|Paine worked with Emory University, Emory’s Office of Sustainable Initiatives (OSI) and with consultants Pattern R+D, Ecoworks, IMEG, and MHTN Architects throughout the design process to integrate elements and features that would further OSI guidelines. The facility is the first building on Emory’s campus to receive LEED Platinum certification.

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management October 2019 issue of Spaces4Learning.

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