Based on concepts established by a Sasaki housing master plan, the renovation of and additions to the Ohio State South High Rises result in increased capacity and a vibrant student residence environment. The existing four, 11-story residential towers are augmented with connecting structures—a unique design strategy that provides new beds, entry lobbies, social areas, and study spaces, as well as newly-defined courtyards. The renovation of the existing 1950s buildings incorporates increased natural lighting, new student lounges, and dynamic ground-level social spaces.
Following ratification of a policy to provide housing for all sophomores, OSU needed to increase housing capacity. Additionally, existing student housing required significant upgrades to mechanical systems and student program spaces. The connectors were located and designed to leverage existing infrastructure and reenergize the existing residential spaces. Sasaki used an innovative structural system to minimize ceiling cavities and to expedite construction. A geothermal well field linked directly to campus open space is utilized for heating and cooling, creating appreciable efficiencies in the size of mechanical equipment. Integral shading in the south-facing glazing also contributes to a substantial reduction in cooling loads and operational costs.
By anchoring the new additions to the existing infrastructure of bathrooms, stairs, and elevators, the project was able to deliver 4,500 beds at a substantially below-average cost for new beds on campus. That allowed for more resources to be dedicated to the improvement of open spaces and landscapes—a sustainable way to foster quality of life on campus. Sasaki created two main outdoor spaces for the new residence halls. First, an entry courtyard establishes a new front door for each hall, allowing for comfortable drop-off, temporary parking, space for daily deliveries, and an area for queuing during move-in and move-out days. Second, on the opposite end of the new lobby, an open porch faces a lawn for informal recreation, establishing a backyard for the hall.