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RIT Global Plaza, Arc, swa group, Rochester Institute of Technology, global village, social hub, green design, landscape architecture

The 89,000 square foot mixed-use village was designed to ease cramped space on the growing campus while keeping higher standards for sustainability in mind. Currently housing for 414 students is available, but the master plan will accommodate 2,000 students over time, which triples housing capacity and creates a sophisticated, active environment. RIT’s Global Village also includes a restaurant, a convenience store, a copy center, mail/package facilities, and a fitness center. Multiple buildings surround a central protected courtyard, which serves as a social hub and promotes activity.

The Global Plaza features an outdoor café and restaurant terraces with seating for over 300. Flexible by design, the plaza can be rearranged for a variety of activities including lounging, meetings, outdoor classes, concerts and even ice skating in the winter. The area also features a central outdoor lounge with deep seating, a fire pit for cold winter nights, a trellis-framed performance area, and a south-facing sloping lawn “beach” that is oriented towards the south to soak up the sun.

As for sustainability, the project is seeking LEED Gold certification based on its energy-efficient design and focus on sustainable materials. The trellises and landscape features were built out of sustainably harvested western red cedar, and a bike shelter provides safe and convenient bike storage. The roof over the restaurant is planted with vegetation, while the pavers in the courtyard are all unmortared to help infiltrate stormwater.

Images ©Tom Fox, principal at SWA and David Lamb, David Lamb Photography