UCONN OAK HALL
with Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Location: Storrs, CT
Completed: Fall 2012
Photos: Anton Grassl/ESTO
Oak Hall provides a home for five academic departments and 20 new classrooms at the heart of the UConn campus; classrooms are located on the first floor, while offices are located on the upper three floors. The LEED Gold building shapes a central passage to the campus center, by weaving two interconnected courtyards into the linear mass of the building. The copper cladding of the courtyard spaces contrasts with the brick cladding of Oak Hall’s exterior perimeter, as a means to define an intimately-scaled resting place within the larger campus. The narrow profile of the building's serpentine mass maximizes daylight and views, ensuring that all private offices and classrooms have sufficient natural light, while framing views from the single-loaded first floor corridors into the heavily planted courtyards.The structural bays and fenestration follow a 20' module which rhythmically adjusts based upon the interior programmatic requirements of the project. This structural module is carried through the interior spaces and also defines the module for the bamboo paneling in the main lecture hall.
Oak Hall incorporates numerous measures to reduce its environmenal impact. Extensive permeable paving and bioswales are provided on-site to dramatically reduce runoff by over 52%, while native plantings support local wildlife and minimize the need for irrigation. The incorporation of substantial bicycle parking and an on-site campus shuttle stop minimize the presence of cars on the site, while the material palette for the project includes both locally sourced & rapidly renewable materials, as well as high albedo roofing materials and dark-sky lighting fixtures. The building is also heavily insulated, and high-efficiency HVAC systems are provided to ensure the interior spaces minimize energy use.