UDC | New Student Center
District of Columbia
Award of Merit

Owner The University of the District of Columbia
Lead Design Firm Cannon Design
General Contractor Parkinson Forrester Joint Venture
Civil Engineer Delon Hampton and Associates, Chartered
Structural Engineer ReStl Designers Inc.
MEP Engineer Setty and Associates International
Architecture Marshall Moya Design LLC
Landscape Architect Lee and Associates Inc.
Geotechnical Engineer ECS Mid-Atlantic LLC

Constructing its first major building in more than a quarter century, the University of the District of Columbia set out to transform a nondescript campus filled with utilitarian, 1970s architecture. The 80,000-sq-ft student center also anchors an effort to build a residential community on campus. “A new student center is a crucial ingredient in this renewal,” architect-of-record Cannon Design wrote in the award submission.

The project, on a tight site, features a restaurant and dining facility and offers financial services and study and meeting spaces for UDC’s more than 5,000 students. It also has event and entertainment venues, a 10,000-sq-ft fitness center and retail space, including a bookstore that caters to students and community members. One Best Projects judge said he looked at the busy, high-profile section of the city on Google’s street-view maps and was impressed by the project’s team “ability to get it built” despite such limited laydown area.

With a green roof, rain garden, bioretention facility and two central atria that allow daylighting, the center achieved another lofty goal: It is the first student union in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum certification.

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