Construction & Development winner: University of Michigan's North Quad construction redefines campus housing & South State
The first new dormitory on U-M’s campus in decades, the $175 million North Quad also contains classroom space and added hundreds of residents to South State Street. Construction took years to complete, and it included preserving the faÃ§ade of the Carnegie Library that had been a part of the Frieze Building, which was demolished to make room for the defining project.
North Quad took five years of planning and three years to build but only days to make an impact in Ann Arbor after opening in fall 2010.
Students - about 450 at the sophomore level and above- make the $175 million building one of the largest landlords on one of the busiest off-campus streets in Ann Arbor.
As a result of North Quad, U-M is advancing its delivery of education and housing to students. But it’s also positioning those students as a clear economic driver downtown, where the project has spawned multiple private business ventures.
“We envision this space as a new gateway and magnet for the rest of campus - an energized, innovative, always-active center close to the heart of downtown Ann Arbor,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a written statement as the university was unveiling the finished effort.
U-M “did a beautiful job on North Quad,” said Jeff Hauptman, owner of the Oxford Cos., which runs its offices from a South State Street loft above Amer’s Mediterranean Deli.
And the impact on retailers nearby, he said, will be significant.
It’s for all of those reasons that the project was chosen as AnnArbor.com’s Business Review Deals of the Year for Construction and Development.
The look of the 360,000-square-foot building on South State between Huron and Washington is distinctive, signifying just how far university dormitories have come over the decades.
The “collegiate gothic” look hints of other campus buildings, and a courtyard between two C-shaped towers provides a community open space.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Rising a staggered seven to 10 stories above the street, the building is large and definitive without being imposing. Inside, it’s part of U-M’s Residential Life initiative, where the institution focused on improving living-learning opportunities on campus.
Inside, the top floors house students in single rooms and suites. Lower floors contain 19 classrooms and high-tech labs for the School of Information. There’s a 180-seat dining hall, too.
As the Business Review reported during the summer, the aim of the complex is to promote the concept that learning doesn’t stop when the class period is over.
“The blending of those experiences is one of the most innovative and exciting aspects of this complex,” said Peter Logan, communications director for University Housing, who called the complex "a unique environment on any college campus."
Also important to the community are the sustainable aspects of the building. Environmentally friendly design efficiencies were incorporated into its construction and use.
The building shell was designed to minimize the loss of hot and cold air. Infra-red light was used to identify gaps in the insulation and vapor barriers. New types of plumbing fixtures will reduce water consumption. Exhaust fans will operate only on demand. Porous material was used in paved areas, allowing water run-off to percolate into the ground. And classrooms and offices will be equipped with occupancy sensors to turn lights on and off and control the temperature.
But the vitality of the students inside the structure is what truly gives it life, officials said.
The attention to learning, the innovation of the space and the commitment to creating a defining campus building all are borne out in the construction and development of North Quad.