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Williams college, center for development economics residence hall

Williamstown, MA | 17,000 SF | 2019

Williams College is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges, supporting over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The institution hired PBDW to design their new two-story residence hall to house students enrolled in the college’s Center for Development Economics (CDE) master’s degree program. This 30-bedroom residence hall is the first Net Zero energy building on the Williams College campus, and shares a site with the historic Center for Development Economics academic building, designed by Stanford White.

When approaching the design for this new dormitory, our team took a cue from the CDE academic building’s angular geometry, vertical turret, and light-colored stone masonry. We designed the building with two distinct wings, which are vertically offset to respond to the sloping site. Along with the CDE academic building, the wings define a partially enclosed courtyard creating a mini-campus in between. We organized the bedrooms in pairs with a shared vestibule and bathroom. Each room is equipped with LED lighting, occupancy sensors, efficient valence units and sustainable materials are used throughout. The envelope is super-insulated and designed to rigorous Passive House standards, and generously proportioned windows are triple glazed offering views of the CDE academic building and surrounding landscape, which includes rain gardens for storm water management.