BACK TO LIST
University of Houston - University Center Transformation | Houston, Texas | 2015
Architects: EYP, Inc.
Client: University of Houston
Photographers: Anton Glassl, Paul Hester
Located at the intersection between residence halls, the recreation center, and the academic core the renovated and expanded University Center serves as the crossroads of the University of Houston campus. Bold and strategic interventions reimagine the existing bunker-like UC, transforming it into an open, light filled and active social hub on the evolving campus. The building is organized such that it integrates campus circulation routes into the planning while providing a new, contemporary front door for the university. To bring a new depth to the original building’s precast concrete exterior and control solar heat gain, perforated stainless steel screens were extensively applied as a second skin. The complex’s new enclosure was designed to heighten transparency and connectivity through large expanses of glass and clearly framed openings linking it to prominent campus pathways. To the east a 52,000-square-foot addition to the original building houses food service amenities plus a new 450-seat theater on the ground level. The second floor contains new meeting spaces and two flexible, large event spaces.
At the heart of the University Center, is the reconceived Arbor Lounge. In this now enclosed interior space, the monumental terraced lounge connects the facility vertically, activating spaces across multiple levels and has become the “see and be seen” space on campus. On the Student Center’s north side a new 68,000-square-foot building solely dedicated to student organizations houses flexible, collaborative spaces allowing student organizations to directly engage the greater campus community. The airy double-height North Collaborative Lounge is the center of this addition. Pedestrian bridges extend from the geometry of the Arbor Lounge over the walkways and landscaping below linking the original UC building and the new north building. These bridges frame a trellis that creates an outdoor student gathering space shaded from the harsh afternoon sun.