Last month in Storr, Connecticut, Leers Weinzapfel Associates completed their newest design, Oak Hall, at the University of Connecticut. This building is the second classroom building on the campus that has been designed to LEED Gold standards, and it is ushering in a new era in sustainable growth for the university.
Oak Hall, the twin to the first LEED Gold building Laurel Hall, is the new home of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ journalism, economics, languages, and linguistics departments. These brick and copper-faced buildings have strengthened the campus’ exterior civic space by modernizing this area of campus into a much larger flexible public space. The campus is continuing to grow and these buildings have created a space for lecturers and students alike to use.
The 132,000 square-foot Oak Hall was designed by taking two L-shaped brick volumes and intersecting them with a large connecting volume on the three upper floors of the building. This design maximizes the amount of perimeter offices available for the staff, and connects the building to interior courtyards, which bring in natural light and views. Laurel Hall is much smaller and offers mostly classrooms and lecture halls. Laurel Hall boasts a green roof located on the lower volume of the building.
Both Laurel and Oak Hall have revitalized the University of Connecticut campus with modern design aesthetics paired with sustainable building methods. Laurel Hall was recently awarded a 2012 American Architecture Award, while Oak Hall received awards of Excellence from the Connecticut Green Building Council.