Northeast Triangle On Track for Fall Opening

MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA Construction of the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall is expected to be completed this summer, ready for residents in the fall.

MICHELLE XU/THE HOYA
Construction of the Northeast Triangle Residence Hall is expected to be completed this summer, ready for residents in the fall.

The Northeast Triangle Residence Hall is expected to be completed on schedule this summer and will house sophomores beginning in the fall.

Students will be able to preview the building beginning Feb. 26 in Sellinger Lounge, where they will also be able to vote on the furniture for the building’s common areas. The building had a construction cost of $36.5 million and an overall project cost of $46 million.

Located between the Henle Village apartments and the Reiss Science Building, the eight-story, 81,220-square-foot residence hall will house 225 beds in semi-suite arrangements capable of holding two, four or six students in double bedrooms with shared bathrooms. Each floor includes a kitchen, lounge and study room. Public amenities on the first floor will also include a multi-purpose space, a study space, a demonstration kitchen and an outdoor space with seating and a grilling area.

According to Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management Robin Morey, planning for the building began in fall 2012 as part of the 2010 Campus Plan’s requirement that 450 beds be moved on campus by 2017. Construction officially began in the spring of 2014.

“The technical piece of it was the new campus plan,” Morey said. “The bigger and broader picture as part of our master planning efforts is that we wanted to develop a living and learning campus.”

Morey noted that the goal to find more on-campus living arrangements for students spurred the university to make the north side of campus more populated.

“We heard complaints from students who live in Darnall and Henle that they felt isolated,” Morey said. “The Northeast Triangle was an opportunity to better utilize some open space that did not have the highest and best land use.”

Morey said that receiving authorization from the Old Georgetown Board, a regulatory body that approves architecture, construction and renovations in the Georgetown district, was the most challenging part of the process. Composed of three architects, the board is run by the Commission of Fine Arts, a federal entity.

Tasked with preserving the historic nature of Georgetown neighborhoods, the Old Georgetown Board had reservations about the early designs of the Northeast Triangle, criticizing them for not fitting in with the surrounding aesthetic of university buildings.

“We originally tried to get more of a modern style of building with a transition from the historic to the more modern,” Morey said. “We went through several iterations of that process. We changed the design pretty significantly to what you see now.”

When the plan for the building was first put into motion, the university formed a design committee of administrators and students to give feedback on the early designs. Georgetown University Student Association Secretary for Residential Living Connor Maytnier (COL ‘17) served on this committee his freshman year, weighed in on the early designs put forth by the design architecture firm, Sasaki Associates.

“Sasaki had shown a couple different options, and the exterior of the building went through some changes with the towers, brick versus stone, et cetera,” Maytnier said. “It went through a couple iterations. We were just giving some general feedback in terms of what students like when we think about the exterior of buildings.”

The glass exterior of the first floor will be open to the campus community, and a glass tower on the north side of the building will contain glass-floor lounges on each story. The rest of the building will be stone and brick to create private spaces for bedrooms.

“What this building tries to do is pull all of that materiality together and make a transition from the historic stone of the Healy quad to the more modern brick and glass of [Rafik B. Hariri Building] and Regents [Hall],” Morey said.

Assistant Vice President of Design and Construction Gina Bleck, who has overseen the project from the beginning, emphasized how the building’s materials strive to combine the university’s future with its historic past.

“Materiality was about bridging between the historic campus and more modern elements,” Bleck said. “That’s how we got to something that is very modern but respects the historic properties of White Gravenor. We tried to get a stone that would be compatible and articulate it in a way that was modern but reminiscent of the historic.”

Bleck said the building will include a wide, grand staircase and a new ramp for students with physical disabilities, replacing a previous ramp that did not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The newly opened space between the Northeast Triangle and Red Square will also include cafe tables and chairs. The currently closed Leavey Center Bridge will also be reopened, giving students a direct route from the Northeast Triangle plaza to the Leavey Center.

“Architecturally and from a planning perspective, the experience of the space between Reiss and Northeast Triangle enhances the campus experience,tiBleck said. aid. lly and from a planning perspective, the experience of the spa I am very confident that the space will be lovely and well used by students.”

Senior Architect in the Office of Design and Construction Amy Sanderson encouraged rising sophomores to attend the preview Feb. 26.

“It’s great,” Sanderson said. “It gives you a great idea of what the building will be like, what the rooms will look like, and whether or not you will be interested in living there. It’s really beneficial for students.”

The new dorm will house the French Floor and the Global Living Community as well as a chaplain-in-residence and a faculty-in-residence, Assistant Dean for Residential Living Stephanie Lynch confirmed in an email to The Hoya.

GUSA Secretary of Campus Planning Ari Goldstein (COL ’18) said that although the dorm would be a nice residence hall, he is uneasy about the mandatory three-year housing requirement now placed on upperclassmen.

Where I have pause is the fact that the Northeast Triangle I don’t think is an inherently necessary positive addition to student life on campus,” Goldstein said. “It’s a building that we built practically because of the neighbors. It was never a necessary expenditure of money and space on campus, but, given the restrictions imposed by the last campus plan, Residential Living is doing their best to put together a good residence hall.”

Morey expressed enthusiasm for the project’s completion.

“When it’s done we’re going to have improved accessibility on campus, we’re going to have strengthened a walkway and fortified it, and we’re going to have more community on the north side,” Morey said.

 

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