LLB Architects honored with AIAri award for Hillside Hall

December 11, 2012 - At the AIAri Annual Design Awards Gala last Thursday, LLB Architects took home top honors for Hillside Hall at the University of Rhode Island, the school's newest and most energy efficient residence hall.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Institute of Architects hosts a design awards program and celebrates outstanding works of architecture through its annual gala celebration, held this year at the Greenhouse at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI. The purpose of the program is to recognize significant architectural achievement in Rhode Island to enhance our built environment. The new $42 million, 429-bed Hillside Hall was designed as a dynamic new model for residential housing and was the recipient of an honor award in the educational/institutional category.

The selection jury was made up of representatives from AIA New Hampshire and selected Hillside Hall for its elegant solution on a challenging topographic and contextual site. Juror Mark Moeller, AIA, LEED AP noted that the project was a difficult assignment. As design principal at JSA in Portsmouth, NH, he has worked on many dormitories, so he knows well the quality of the design that was necessary for the success of the project. The jury was also impressed by the open sky lounges in the glass bridge which provide a very desirable feature for the freshman and sophomore residents. Natural light floods the interior and is animated with a rhythmic pattern of colored glass, creating a diverse array of shadows that change constantly.

The sky lounges are contrasted with intimate social spaces for group and collaborative study which are well placed throughout the floor plan. The jury recognized that the materials choices - both inside and out - were simple and beautifully composed, and another deciding factor in awarding the project.

URI President David M. Dooley has said, "This striking new residence hall is perfectly consistent with our strategic plan and transformational goals in that it provides for 24/7, multidisciplinary and global learning opportunities in a comfortable, sustainable setting. Not only does this building enhance learning among the occupants, it will also help teach our students the importance of environmental sustainability, which will be essential in the decades to come.”

The most effective and economical methods to achieve a green building comes from a holistic approach to sustainability. LLB Architects integrated solar hot water system, sun shading, natural ventilation, green roof, a rigorously designed building envelope, and local and recycled materials. Slated for LEED certification, the project is setting new standards for environmentally friendly residence hall construction.

“When you consider what was here before, you can see the dramatic contrast of a very dense housing facility with excellent design, both exterior and interior,” said Robert A. Weygand, vice president for Administration and Finance. “Now we have this wonderful facility that provides much more housing, but also creates beautiful common spaces, outside and inside the building.”

Thomas R. Dougan, vice president for Student Affairs, said he has heard from many students about how much they enjoy the new residence. “I am proud that URI has been able to provide such an excellent environment to learn and live for our students. All members of our team did an outstanding job putting student needs at the top of the list in designing and constructing this building. Hillside Hall is another example of how URI is trying to build a vibrant, spirited and effective campus community.”

Other projects which received honor awards last week include Archie R. Cole Middle School, Marsh House, Concord Riverwalk; and among the merit awards were Interlink, AS220 Mercantile Block, Fort Adams Redoubt Jail, Twin Peaks Residence, Hillside House, Vedanta Society, Narragansett Bay Commission Field’s Point Administration Building, and Community MusicWorks.

In addition to the design awards, AIAri also hosts the Archistar award program which recognizes exceptional individual contributions to architecture by non-architects. The award is an opportunity for the Rhode Island professional architectural community to recognize the full range of vision, skills, and perseverance that is required to make a positive impact on the built environment. The winner of this year’s award went to Clark Schoettle, Executive Director of Providence Revolving Fund. He was selected for working tirelessly to preserve Providence’s architectural heritage and stimulating community revitalization through advocacy, lending, technical assistance, and development in historic areas.

Learn more about Hillside Hall and visit AIAri to read more about all the awarded projects.