Centerbrook designed a community nexus for Quinnipiac University’s York Hill Campus with an expansive and welcoming lodge. Here students gravitate to dine, exercise, study, and socialize – while enjoying sweeping views of Long Island Sound and surrounding woodlands and fields.

On the Hamden, Connecticut, site where a rustic lodge once stood, the Rocky Top Student Center is an 85,000-square-foot octagon that features exposed timber beams, natural wood paneling, stonework, and other indigenous materials. The high-ceilinged structure recalls the ethos of a rural mountain lodge while affording students the latest in amenities, ranging from fitness facilities and a dining hall to study rooms and a large stone patio facing south, for either quiet contemplation or group events.

The walls of the Center’s expansive, two-story high foyer are wood-paneled with a grand divided staircase leading to the second floor. The metal staircase railings are patterned with subtle, abstract depictions of the university’s mascot, a bobcat, in various poses. The first floor houses a 500-seat dining hall and features a welcoming stone fireplace whose exposed chimney stack extends up to the ceiling high above. Rocky Top also contains student health facilities, meeting rooms, a computer room, a post office, and security.

The Center serves the Centerbrook-designed York Hill Campus, one of the university’s three campuses, where residence halls house juniors and seniors. York Hill opened in 2006 and also encompasses the TD Bank Sports Arena for Division I hockey and basketball teams, a parking garage, and a “Wind Terrace” of 25 vertical-axis turbines that generate both light and delight for students. Centerbrook designed York Hill with numerous other sustainable approaches and renewable energy systems, among them a geo-thermal cooling system, photovoltaic collectors, and a highly efficient cogeneration plant.

Photography © Robert Benson, Derek Hayn