Georgia Institute of Technology, West Village Dining Commons
The West Village Dining Commons is a highly flexible, 50,000 SF dining, lounge and educational facility that seats over 600 students and includes over 10,000 SF of multi-use academic space. The program includes seven food venues, back of house kitchens, four classrooms, faculty and staff offices, two large meeting rooms, and ample dining and study rooms.
Flexible open seating was used for student lounge and study areas both inside and outside creating a vibrant, hybrid, multi-purpose gathering place. In addition to connecting a very complicated and steep site, this project’s unique challenges included the desire to draw the Georgia Tech community to the underutilized West Campus where students, faculty, and visitors, can better connect to each other and rejuvenate on campus. Situated at the headwaters of the campus Eco-Commons, landscape integration reinforces the sustainable culture and relationship of this project to the campus.
Design ChallengeConnectivity to the site, campus and context drove a highly sustainable architectural solution.
Site: The site itself was complicated by existing student housing buildings and a parking deck that intersected at varying elevations. The solution used the building interior, exterior porches, and walkways to interconnect the adjacent buildings and stitch together the site to provide improved connectivity and accessibility for this campus.
Campus: Part of a greater master plan that establishes the campus Eco-Commons, landscape integration is a large component of the project, reinforcing the sustainable culture of the campus. Students traverse a Bioswale bridge to access the Commons through an adjacent landscaped courtyard between the two nearby residence halls. A central green space with fountain, firepits, and seating zones provides active and passive options for students. An outdoor stage extends from a central music room to allow for impromptu concerts and gatherings.
Context: Consistent with the campus scale and material palette, the project uses common materials in uncommon ways. Large curtain wall windows allow daylighting throughout every level. Views of the midtown skyline were framed from upper terraces to encourage spending time outside. Carefully composed planes of complimentary materials reveal the nature of the functions within. Limited interior drywall and open floor plans allow light to travel within providing ample natural light in the interior. To conserve resources, the interior was crafted to use only materials necessary for creating functional and impactful spaces. The project reimagines the campus precinct as an open, engaging and connected place consistent with the campus initiative to serve, learn and sustain.
Physical ContextThe West Village area of campus was a somewhat isolated, lacking dining options or a place to for students, faculty, and visitors to relax or recharge in between classes or meetings. It was important for this facility to fill that void and draw many different people to the space.
The site itself was intensely complicated having a steep topography with a parking deck and residence halls directly adjacent. This challenged our team to create a porous building that celebrated a connection back to the residence halls, linked to the recreation activities on top of the parking deck while with using the building interior as a means for accessibly connecting the site.
Large windows focused towards green views allow daylighting to permeate throughout every level. Limited and strategically located interior partitions and open floor plans allow light to travel within providing ample natural light in the interior while providing flexibility and scale. Connections to exterior porches with ample and diverse seating types encourage spending time outside to enjoy fresh air, one another, sweeping views of the skyline, and celebrate the restorative site ecology.