ASDR | University of Delaware

The Academy Street Dining and Residence Halls site is a critical element within the University of Delaware campus, linking East Campus to Central Campus and the Historic Green’s formal structure. The site design integrates sustainability and preservation, as the Green extends over the roof of the new dining hall and cascades down to Academy Street, both masking the dining hall’s large volume and lending unique elements to the rapidly growing University of Delaware campus.

The development and operation of a large academic dining hall has the potential to be disruptive to social and historic campus spaces. Following the decision to construct a subterranean dining hall with a rooftop garden walk, the scope of the project increased to include three new residential buildings nestled among four existing residential structures. Cannon, New Castle, Kent, and Smyth Halls serve to cushion the new space and the new development is integrated with existing architectural themes.  An active pedestrian corridor, leading to the Central Campus’ academic buildings, engages the residence and dining hall buildings at multiple levels. A gently sloped lawn sweeps from the Green to the dining hall’s roof, continuing the pedestrian corridor to Academy Street. A canopy of shade and ornamental trees straddle the garden walk and connect the building to the iconic historic Grove, which offers a glimpse of the rambling arboretum landscape envisioned in Marian Coffin’s 1920’s Master Plan. The swath of green eventually flows onto Academy Street in an amphitheater-like arrangement of steps and terraces, with prospect over the street and entry plaza below. A quiet garden walk, lined with flowering trees, defines the interface with adjacent residential buildings, and offers a more tranquil experience for residents. Students and faculty are eager for experiences outside of the classroom; for these, a rich campus setting is essential. The extended Historic Green, quad, and garden walk create a destination that successfully addresses student, faculty, and university needs.

Location: Newark, DE

Architecture: DIGSAU