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Wells Commons

University of Maine | Orono, ME

Wells Commons is critically located on a major student pathway. The old building’s straightforward mid-century brick architecture is now the backdrop for a new glass and zinc addition. The addition provides dedicated access to the first floor dining hall and a separate lobby/entrance for the expanded second-floor conference facility. A new glazed open space on the second floor offers views of the campus and athletic facilities.

The building and its new addition read as a single structure, with multiple connections to outdoor spaces. At the ground level, a new outdoor terrace supports a large, multi-restaurant retail food operation, resolving grade changes with connections to outdoor dining and event space. A new late-night campus market and retail bakery respond to student requests.

A LEED Silver certified renovation and addition, the design leaves the existing building in place, reusing 85% of its structure for significant cost savings. The new building minimizes energy loads with a high-performance envelope and increased daylighting. Electric consumption is further reduced with high-efficiency mechanical systems, timers, occupancy sensors, and infrastructure for prototype solar panels that incorporate nanoparticles on thin film. Outside, native plantings are irrigated only with rainwater.


2009   American School & University – Renovation/Modernization Award

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38,000 sf

COST (2008)

$7 million