bennington college student center  

Bennington Vermont 2007

+ Information


  • New building as a 10,000 gsf one-story addition to the existing 3,000 gsf Café
  • Hyper-multifunctional assembly space to accommodate diverse daily uses: all 700 Bennington students dancing together, with sprung floor and sound-mix booth; or, seating for 300 at a performance performances; or dining for 100
  • Full-service kitchen and bar, convenience store, restrooms, storage


    An addition to the Café, the Student Center focuses campus life with The Student Center focuses campus life with a flexible assembly space for diverse events. The architecture adapts Bennington's mid-century modernism to make new social spaces, inside and out; it completes a cross-axis opposite Crossett Library by Pietro Belluschi (1959) and extends a new brick terrace toward Fels House by Edward Larrabee Barnes (1969). The large glass corner creates a luminous volume on Commons Lawn while constituting only ten percent of the high-performance building envelope. Mobile glazed panels of the Big Room and the Link can "switch" open in fair weather, dissolving the barrier between inside and out. By day the Big Room offers a sweeping campus vista; by night it glows, a beacon of social life.


  • Highly efficient envelope surface area/floor area ratio
  • Roof and wall assemblies exceed Efficiency Vermont baseline
  • Sustainably harvested, high recycle-content, and low VOC building materials throughout
  • Passive ventilation utilizes cross-ventilation for fair-weather fresh air; doors and windows wired to HVAC system minimize energy use while open
  • High-efficiency HVAC—energy-recovery exhaust-stream heat exchanger tempers frequent fresh air exchange
  • High-efficiency lighting augments the high level of available daylight
  • Heat supplied from bio-mass fueled campus steam system, sourced from local wood products
  • Super-insulated standing seam metal roof with snow guards holds snow for additional insulation


  • Honor Award for Design Excellence
  • Boston Society of Architects, 2008
  • Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture for a New Building
  • Society for College and University Planning and the American Institute of Architects, 2010