West Village Commons
The new West Village Commons building is a four-story, 86,000-sf mixed-use student services facility supporting the current and projected residential population in the West Village precinct. The project enhances the living and learning environment, contributes to the development of community and serves as a central gathering space for current and future residential students through dining, retail, meeting, office and other student services spaces.
The new building has a ground level main entrance, a vehicular pull-off, and a second main entrance to support events held in the dining hall, larger gathering space and meeting space on the upper levels. The west side of the building is the location of the loading dock, with direct vehicular service access.
The multi-use student center offered some not-so-typical ‘tight site’ restraints. The building is nestled within four existing student residence halls/apartment buildings with a very unique challenge – securing and ensuring the life of a 100+-year-old American Elm tree living less than 30 feet from the new building’s east foundation footprint. To assess the condition of the American Elm, the project team hired an arborist, who also pre-treated and protected the tree during initial site mobilization. Where the tree’s critical roots and branches ran about 25 feet into the building’s footprint, the tree was carefully pruned to maintain its aesthetics and health. The Elm tree remains a site feature that complements the design of the West Village Commons, and is a community focal point from the adjacent exterior student walking paths and expanse of glass at the student cafeteria seating area, as well as the third floor Green Roof Garden.
As part of Towson’s strong green initiative on campus, the building was designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification and includes energy efficient features such as natural lighting and a “green roof.” The roof serves as a practical cooling system, and also as a third floor outdoor event and gathering space. The project’s design preserves, integrates and embraces the existing specimen 100+-year old American Elm tree located on the east side of the project site. It was important to the Construction Manager, University, and the design team that the tree remain, and it grows next to the new building as a unique testament to the site’s sustainability.
The project was completed on time and within budget due to the efforts of a coordinated team of professionals with an established goal. The trade work for the ornamental stair, travertine flooring, and eucalyptus wood paneling has been awarded Building Congress and Exchange Craftsmanship Awards.