Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons | Page

Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons was based on a micro-master plan for Colorado School of Mines’ West Student Life Quadrant. The project replaced the existing outdated and inefficient all-you-can-eat dining facility. The new 600-seat Dining Hall accommodates 50 additional individuals in a private Executive dining room for special events and faculty meetings.

Architect: Alyshia Maynard

Country: United States

Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (2)
Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (2)

Situated at the main pedestrian entry to campus, the five-story Residence Hall and Dining facility completes a major full block campus quadrangle and re-establishes the importance of framing and reinforcing the extension of a historic pedestrian mall through campus. Along this path at the main level, these building wings house the University’s Housing and Dining Offices, Residence Hall Commons, and the new Dining Hall pavilion – open and very visible to the growing population on campus.

Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (3)
Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (3)

A key issue in the building design was a focus on maximizing the availability of daylight into the spaces. Overhangs and fixed sunshades are provided to ensure optimal control of the quality of the daylighting as well as to reduce unnecessary solar gain. Sunshades are incorporated on the first two levels of the building on the South side and all three stories in the student study lounge in the West Resident Hall and a large overhang also provides sun screening along the East and South sides of the Dining pavilion. The passive access to lighting has greatly reduced the need for artificial lighting, thus improving the quality of the light received by occupants and the indoor environmental quality of the spaces. The extensive glazing also enables over 90% of the spaces to enjoy the views to both the Colorado Front Range and Foothills further enhancing the user experience and helping to set the context of the community experience.

Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (4)
Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (4)

All shower and toilet fixtures throughout the building are low-flow resulting in a projected potable water savings of almost 45% each year over similar facilities. This not only helps to conserve a precious resource, but is helping to mitigate the effects of climate events that have seen drought place a strain on water access throughout Colorado. Native, drought resistant vegetation was utilized on the site to further reduce the need for water and to create a landscape that is less impacted by historically low precipitation and ground water supplies.

Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (5)
Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (5)

Additional measures include careful consideration of energy conservation, indoor environmental quality, and thoughtful use of materials. Along with efficient mechanical systems, passive strategies, such as the daylighting discussed earlier and light roofing to mitigate the heat island effect work to reduce energy consumption. Customizable climate controls, the constant monitoring of air quality, and the use of low-emitting materials further enhance the user experience, while the significant use of local materials both reduced transportation impacts and provided economic support for local businesses.

Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (6)
Colorado School of Mines Elm Street Residence Hall and Dining Commons (6)

The project recently received LEED Gold certification in recognition of the positive efforts to incorporate sustainable goals into the design of the project, but more importantly, it has become a very public display of the school’s commitment toward a more sustainable future.

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