Clarkson University, Student Center
Potsdam, New York
Square Footage: 55,000
This center redefines student life on campus creating a central Forum, a “Great Hall”, to which all major buildings along the campus’s interior Concourse system are connected. The program is rich with spaces that create not only a social hub, but a place that encourages cultural and academic engagement. Perkins + Will facilitated a collaborative shared effort, involving input from the entire community: students, staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, and vendors/operators.
With a dramatic fireside lounge, new space for the Clarkson University Student Association, a range of entertainment options – cafe, game room, and multipurpose room – and a new, central dining venue, the Student Center has become the after-hours destination for students at Clarkson. The most dynamic space, the Amphitheater, is a performance space that engages the entire atrium on all floors. Cascading down from one floor to the next, the main stair gradually transitions into seating platforms that focus on a multimedia wall. The multimedia wall is not only the backdrop for performances, but also serves as the viewing aperture into the radio and TV studios.
The Center’s architecture recalls the Adirondack region and embraces sustainable design elements. The building’s energy-supply system is integrated by tapping into the redundancies from an adjacent building. The Amphitheater that vertically extends above the adjacent rooflines harvests daylighting. Reclaimed wood, local stones, and a minimal interior design palette round out the sustainable design strategy.