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American Institute of Architects Recognizes Keene State Living Learning Commons

January 23, 2017
Keene State College’s new Living & Learning Commons

New Sustainable Building Fosters Student Success in Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities

Keene State College’s new student facility, the Living & Learning Commons, has received the New Hampshire Honor Award from The American Institute of Architects. Keene State College worked with Perkins + Will on the design, which was critical to delivering on the goals of the building. The Living & Learning Commons boasts 11 communities that provide a variety of opportunities for first-year students to pursue their academic and co-curricular interests, and transition more seamlessly into campus life. It was also designed to help fulfill Keene State’s commitment to sustainability, with an energy-efficient design that saves on energy costs.

“We are pleased to accept this recognition for design of the Living & Learning Commons. We are also proud to provide an environment that helps our students reach their fullest potential – the addition of this building is a significant effort that delivers on this promise,” said Keene State College President Dr. Anne Huot. “The new residence building helps first-year students pursue their interests and engages them in activities and conversations that help them to achieve their academic goals while making connections in the classroom and beyond. The communities in this building help to chart a path forward for students during college and after graduation.”

Four jurors who are experts in the field of architecture selected Keene State’s building for this honor. The jurors commented on the beauty of the building. They remarked that the building is both restrained and playful, and that it provides a “hub”; a central space for students to gather.

“The new Living & Learning Commons creates a residence focused on student success and its exemplary energy performance – 70 percent reduction on energy demand – enhances their living experience,” said Perkins + Will Associate Principal Yanel de Angel.

The Living & Learning Commons houses 348 students, and 19 classes are taught on the first floor of the building. The various learning living communities open to students include American Democracy Project, Building Excellence in Science and Technology (BEST), Communication and Philosophy, Film Studies, Graphic Design, Health and Wellness, History, Honors Program, Music, Nature and Sustainability, and Women’s and Gender Studies.