The Crescent Residence Hall is the centerpiece of student housing at Quinnipiac University's York Hill campus. There also are five Townhouses and the East View Residence Hall. The varied topography required a number of creative architectural solutions so that Crescent could house more than 1,600 students not only in relatively spacious suites, but also in a human scaled environment. These attributes were necessary to attract older students away from off-campus housing options.

Occupying the least amount of land possible on this 250-acre satellite campus, the building conforms to the natural terrain of its hilltop site. Its 400,300-square-feet reaches nine stories at one point – but its mass is softened by its curving plan, and visually reduced by stepped facades and a below-grade ground floor.

The building’s top floors step down the hillside to create opportunistic settings for student lounges that claim panoramic views to Long Island Sound and surrounding hills. The sunken ground floor is made possible by a “moat” carved out of the hillside along its concave face. The moat adds to the human scale of the complex with its numerous bridges overhead, colorfully tiled entrance ways, steps, and gardens. Crescent encircles the centrally located Rocky Top Student Center, which adds more visual diversity to the campus, further conceals its perceived mass, and provides a “tent pole” for the complex as a whole.

The nearly 80,000-square-foot East View Residence Hall is located across a road from Crescent and follows its gently curving brick design while at the same time adding visual and architectural diversity to York Hill. The building, which is set into a hillside to minimize its visual impact and to make it more sustainable to heat and cool, houses 204 students. In addition five Townhouses, varying in square footage from 7,700 to 9,465, contain a total of 126 beds. These homey dwellings follow the motif of their larger neighbors.

York Hill also includes a parking garage, a “wind terrace” with 25 vertical-axis turbines, a 2,000-car parking garage, and a sports center with twin arenas for Division I basketball and hockey with a combined seating of more than 6,800.

Photography © David Sundberg/Esto