In 2014, the College began to outline needed renovations and expansions of student resident halls. Since then, student, faculty, and staff groups have worked through multiple sessions and scenarios to update and improve the student residential experience.
Out of that work, a partnership has developed between the College and Adjaye Associates to design a downtown student residence hall. The approach of this internationally-recognized firm prioritizes community engagement throughout its process in ever-expanding circles of input and feedback. It also provides significant time for conceptual development. “We believe,” reads the firm’s approach statement, that “architecture presents opportunities for transformation — materially, conceptually, sociologically — and can act as a catalytic mechanism for bridging and creating relationships between the human body, society, and the world.”
In the fall of 2019 and early spring of 2020, Associate Principal Russell Crader and Global Head of Communications Marissa Glauberman of Adjaye Associates came to Grinnell, collaborating with Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Rick Whitney and Project Management Coordinator Christi Baker and other campus partners to hold three extensive listening sessions addressing Identity of Place, Iowa Nice, and Divisions and Consensus. Insights from those sessions can be found on this website created to provide information to college and community members about this project. Following a hiatus to redesign the logistics of doing this work in the virtual conditions necessitated by the pandemic, Mr. Crader was joined by Project Director Clara Aramburu of Adjaye Associates and the regional firm of OPN Architects in Des Moines to engage the next steps of this exciting project.
Community members, Student Government Association representatives, and faculty and staff members whose work intersects with community engagement, gathered with Rick, Christi, Russell, Clara, and our partners at OPN to design a survey for your welcome insight and contribution.
The idea is not just to build a building, but to create a meaningful and engaged residential experience for students in community. Grinnell College was recently recognized by the Iowa Architectural Foundation in receiving a Community Enhancement through Architecture and Design award. We can continue to build on that honor by focusing on the student lived experience on campus and in our community. One of the powerful concepts to emerge from the work with Adjaye Associates last fall was that of “common ground” — thank you for helping build it at Grinnell and engaging with this process.