Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, August 6, 2010

North Quadrangle is U-M’s new home for student living and learning


North Quad: When can you see it?

The campus community and general public will be invited to an open house event March 31, 2011. At that time most programs and spaces will be moved in and functioning. Watch the Record and Record Update for more information later on the special event.

More on North Quad

• Housing Director Linda Newman describes what a day in the life of a typical North Quad resident might look like.
• University Planner Sue Gott offers her thoughts on the philosophy and ideas behind the new living and learning complex.

The first new residence hall constructed at the university in more than 40 years, North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex also is home to several academic programs, providing a one-of-a-kind living and learning environment that leverages advanced networking technologies and international programs to extend the university experience to a global perspective.

North Quad will open at the beginning of September as a residence hall for 450 upper-level undergraduate students and a new hub for learning and collaboration. The red brick and stone complex, which features Art Deco lighting, archways and hardwood accents throughout, also will be home to the School of Information (SI) and four academic units of LSA: Screen Arts and Cultures, Communications Studies, the Language Resource Center and the Gayle Morris Sweetland Center for Writing.

North Quad is a keystone of the university’s Residential Life Initiatives to improve and expand the residential experience for U-M students, and to strengthen the connection between living and learning on campus.

“We envision this space as a new gateway and magnet for the rest of campus — an energized, innovative, always-active center close to the heart of downtown Ann Arbor,” says President Mary Sue Coleman.

  North Quad's seven-story academic tower rises above the intersection of Washington and Thayer streets. (Photo by Scott Galvin, Photo Services)

The facility features 19 state-of-the art classrooms and three labs, television/video production studios, faculty offices, a dining center and abundant common areas shared and utilized by all of the building occupants. The Media Gateway on two floors will provide individual and collaborative study alcoves and rooms equipped with display screens and workstations where students can connect with each other and the world.

“The North Quad environment will combine state-of-the-art technology with tremendous opportunities for collaborative, hands-on learning,” says Terrence J. McDonald, dean of LSA. “The energetic exchange of ideas that it inspires will put Michigan squarely at the forefront of teaching for the 21st century.”

Jamie Lausch, a 2010 graduate of the SI master’s degree program, has been named North Quad’s program coordinator. She will be in charge of developing and coordinating innovative exhibit and events programs for the Media Gateway and shared collaborative spaces.

The complex will provide a focal point for international and intercultural programming. Residents will help shape a new community focused on international “citizenship” and global outreach through advanced technology. North Quad also will be the residence of two Michigan Learning Communities: the Global Scholars Program and the Max Kade German program.

Collaboration between residential programs and academic studies will engage students, faculty and staff in programs and events, including video conferencing, that advance knowledge of other cultures and awareness of how universal issues are understood and addressed by other cultures and societies.


Above, the Media Gateway features wall-mounted monitors and plenty of couch space where students can meet and collaborate. Below, wood accents, like those shown along this stairway, are featured throughout the North Quad. (Photos by Scott Galvin, Photo Services)


Features of the residential area include:

• Contemporary single-occupancy rooms and suites with semi-private baths.

• A Community Center, the heart of the community where students connect with each other and the building staff.

• Small lounges on each floor and a large community lounge with kitchen on the 10th floor.

• A Community Learning Center with computers, whiteboards and workstations including small group study areas.

• A multipurpose “opportunity” room for student events and programs.

North Quad’s seven-story, academic tower, and 10-story residential tower connect in a series of classrooms, offices, study centers and corridors beneath the plaza between the towers. The dining hall on the building’s academic side, and Media Gateway and classrooms on the residential side, promote the continual flow of people and ideas.

“North Quad presents a new environment at the University of Michigan, blending residential and academic facilities to enhance the connection of students' living and learning experiences,” notes Vice President for Student Affairs E. Royster Harper. “This will be a vibrant place in which discussions and discovery among students and faculty will flow from classrooms to study spaces to community places.”

A brick colonnade connects the North Quad dining center to the residential tower. With its high ceiling and windows, the dining center is a gathering place for residents as well as other students and faculty. A constant variety of foods served at various stations will include international dishes to complement the overarching theme of the building. The dining center also will serve as a place for special events, with a digital projection and sound system and large drop-down screen.

Framed by State, Huron and Washington streets, North Quad occupies 360,000 gross square feet. The entire building is equipped with an integrated fire alarm and sprinkler system, wireless Internet access, and an electronic lock system to manage security of both the residential and academic facilities.


Above, the furnishings in one of the bedrooms of a North Quad residential suite are ready for students when they move in in September. Below, looking down on a central courtyard that also serves as a "green roof" for lower sections of the quad. (Photos by Scott Galvin, Photo Services)


During design a process was created for envisioning and evaluating numerous sustainability and energy-efficiency techniques. This process has served as a model which U-M has now incorporated into the design all of its construction projects. North Quad was designed and constructed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than the state code requires. The building incorporates many sustainability measures, including:

• Maximum insulation in foundation walls, exterior walls, and roof assemblies; and energy efficient windows for increased thermal performance.

• Occupancy sensors to reduce lighting levels in corridors, classrooms and residential bathrooms.
Individual temperature controls in each student room.

• Controls to shut down air flow to conference rooms when rooms are unoccupied.

• Occupancy sensors to reset space temperatures to allow wider temperature swings when rooms are unoccupied (included in 26 major spaces such as classrooms).

• Water-conserving plumbing fixtures, including low-flow shower heads, low-flow urinals, and dual-flush toilets.

• Exhaust heat recovery (from residential bathroom exhaust).

The complex features courtyards that include a grass-covered area with crisscrossing walkways that serves as a green roof for a section of the facility below. The green roof is one of the quad’s many features that promote sustainability.

North Quad sits on the site of the former Frieze Building, which was once the Ann Arbor High School. The north face of the new residence hall incorporated the façade of the former Carnegie Library that was part of the old high school building complex. A number of architectural artifacts were salvaged and have been creatively placed within the site.

The project cost of North Quadrangle Residential and Academic complex is $175 million. Funding was provided from a combination of resources from Housing, the Provost’s Office, LSA, and investment proceeds. Robert A.M. Stern Associates is the design architect and Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architects and Engineers serves as the executive architect.