University of New England, University Commons
Biddeford, Maine | 2018
The University of New England's new University Commons unites dining, scholarship, and social interaction at one central location, creating a "downtown" for the University's Biddeford campus. Following the completion of their campus master plan in 2014, the University identified campus recruitment and retention as strategic priorities. The University Commons looks to address these priorities by creating an exciting, unique space that will attract students and serve the entire campus. While the project was initially focused on adding a new dining hall to campus, the administration later decided that the new building should encompass student life as a whole. In addition to housing the main dining hall, the Commons offers flexible event and community spaces, study spaces, common areas, and recreation spaces. To link student life with academic endeavors, the campus library is directly connected to the Commons on the second floor via a bridge. The building intersects several main campus pathways and features stunning views of the nearby Saco River from windows on each floor. Divided into subsections, the Commons is a single building that was designed to feel like a village; a coming together of multiple aspects of campus life, representing the variety of programs housed within it and the UNE student body as a whole.