Conceived as part of the university’s Main Street Project, the building joins buildings designed by the internationally renowned firms of Morphosis and Gwathmey Siegel to frame a major campus pedestrian spine and a plaza designed by landscape architect George Hargreaves. In an especially brilliant stroke, all three structures overlook the university’s Nippert Stadium.
Surgically inserted into the campus fabric, the Joseph A. Steger Student Life Center plays multiple roles as an eye-catching landmark, a backdrop to the spaces around it and as a frame for vistas that provide clear pathways through a dense urban campus. A complex structure, it curves nearly six hundred feet in length and fifty-five feet of vertical, creating a long, thin envelope treated as a penetrable ribbon-like form. The dense mix of academic, social and retail programs inside the building, which includes an art gallery, retail store, coffee shop and student government offices, are inseparable from the surrounding campus spaces.
By blurring the distinction between interior and exterior, architecture and landscape, the building provides a new model for buildings on other campuses nationwide.