Commercial Architecture February 2018 - 11
Student unions benefit the university as well as the students. "In addition to reinforcing campus cohesiveness, student unions enhance and
promote a university's character and brand," Smith said. "Institutions
Above left. In addition to reinforcing campus cohesiveness, Talley Student Union enhances and promotes the university's character and brand. Institutions directly benefit from current student satisfaction, new-student recruitment and retention, alumni
involvement, and increased opportunities to connect with the public.
Above. A wood feature wall at Talley Student Union honors the university mascot, a wolf.
directly benefit from current-student satisfaction, new-student recruitment and retention, alumni involvement, and increased opportunities
to connect with the public. Program elements are strategic and include
Below. Student unions should provide campus social hubs and be extroverted. They must create a dialogue between inside and
outside spaces that facilitate large gatherings and events, present diverse dining opportunities, and welcome people inside.
ballrooms and theaters that host campus and public events, multiple
retail venues that generate revenue for the campus, diverse dining options, and traditional bookstore components."
Student unions are primarily for students, but a variety of other
constituents have input, according to Smith, "Most student unions are
funded from student fees, which are separate from academic funding
sources. Students, student-organization representatives, student senators, administration from student affairs, cultural curators, and dining
and bookstore constituents are the primary voices in determining a
facility's programmatic makeup. Students serve as ambassadors, who
convey the spirit of the building's program and design," he said.
Academics still play a role. "Many scholarly events are held in student centers," Smith noted, "and students use these buildings as alternatives to the library for work and study. In fact, collaborative spaces within student-organization suites, flexible meeting rooms, and a mix of
quiet lounge spaces are where academics intermix with the social aspects of student life. Other key program drivers include entertainment,
relaxation, and socialization opportunities; the incorporation of technology; and openness and visual transparency to other internal spaces
and the outdoors. These features come together to shape buildings that
are inviting to students and mark the evolving functionality of the
building type. With advancements in technology such as interactive
COMMERCI A L A RCHI T EC T URE