Waltham, MA

Brandeis University has a deteriorating housing stock, including buildings that have become unsafe. The new Skyline Residence Hall houses 160 beds, including 120 beds that replace former housing and 40 new beds to grow the housing stock.

Traditional residence halls (rooms off of the corridors and shared bathrooms model) often have narrow and deep double rooms to minimize perimeter and façade costs. This can lead to a room that feels more crowded for two people. In the Skyline Residence Hall, the high percentage of singles meant that traditional narrow, deep doubles would create excessively deep, adjacent singles with excess square footage. A new organizational idea uses shallow, wider doubles to ensure singles are not oversized. As a result, doubles – still the same size as other doubles on campus – feel more spacious because of the wide aspect ratio upon entry. This also results in a building footprint one-third narrowed than a typical residence hall, creating a less bulky overall quality and a GSF reduction of 10% compared to a traditional building organization.

The Skyline project was designed to meet Net Zero goals and is one of the most efficient buildings on the Brandeis campus. Through the combination of a full geothermal heating, cooling, and domestic hot water system, a roof top photovoltaic system and a high-performance façade, the building is a highly sustainable living option on campus using 50% less energy compared to a baseline code compliant building. The building is Net Zero Emissions “ready,” meaning no fossil fuels are used on-site, and, as the University completes its Clean Power Plan, the building will not create any emissions. As the Net Zero experience goals required a tight vision glazing ratio, the articulate façade features longer, colored glass spandrel panels that reflect light and vary throughout the day. The spandrel areas are super insulated to avoid the reduced performance of conventional glass wall expanded spandrel systems.