Colin Drake, AIA,
University of Louisville Belknap Village North & South | Louisville, Kentucky
JRA Architects, in partnership with CSO, designed the first new residence halls within the traditional boundary of the historic UofL Belknap campus in nearly 40 years. The new development has fulfilled the university’s goal of diversifying housing stock in the heart of the campus, offering a wider range of styles and immersing new students in the pedestrian-oriented setting nestled between the student activities center and academic core.
Two new, five-story residence halls and uniquely landscaped campus courtyards have increased the density of the site to better serve the increasing number of student residents while respecting the existing contextual scale. The brick, glass, and metal panel structures reinforce the university’s commitment to pedestrian-oriented development, and are positioned to emphasize the importance of a landmark outdoor destination on campus.
The upper four floors of each building are dedicated to bedrooms and strategically placed, beacon-like, multi-story study lounges. Public amenities are congregated on the first floors in the most visible wings of the buildings, along with spaces for two of UofL’s more important initiatives: the Cultural & Equity Center and the Center for Engaged Learning. The new residence halls are also home to several of the university’s Live Learn Communities, which have been proven to improve academic outcomes for students in similar study paths. Both entities are strategically positioned along main vehicular routes to increase their prominence on campus and enhance visitor access.