Covering the Land of Lincoln

KWK Architects Continues Redesign of Mizzou Residence Halls

By Eric Althoff

COLUMBIA, Mo.—The University of Missouri’s Rooks and Bluford Residence Halls are undergoing ongoing renovations courtesy of KWK Architects of St. Louis, with another phase of work soon to commence.

KWK has stated that, as with many of its other education-related living projects around the country, the residence halls of Bluford and Rooks must serve dual purposes in the design aesthetic. During the school year students live there, but during the summer months, the living quarters are instead utilized by non-academic groups such as conferences and sporting camps. CHP calls this “multi-modes” design a best practice for new residence halls that maximize financial investment by the university.

KWK’s working model details honoring the different building codes required for dual usage. Accordingly, Rooks and Bluford fall under the R-2 code for dormitory use, which requires that the residents be cognizant of their building’s layout as well as egress routes in case of emergency. However, for summer camps and conferences, the dormitories must also honor the R-1 hotel code, which is meant to cover shorter-term residents who may not be as intimately familiar with the building’s layout.

“It is important if you plan to use your new residence hall as a short-term stay facility for summer conferencing or summer camp attendees or another similar use that you have discussions early on with the code authorities and your architect to clearly determine how to approach this dual use classification in the facility’s design,” KWK Principal Paul Wuennenberg said in a recent statement.

Accordingly, KWK needed to be flexible in its design given both residence halls’ proximity to the nearby athletic fields.

“These groups often arrive at the hall during a much shorter time frame than full-year occupants and need to be able to register more quickly,” Wuennenberg said. “In order to accommodate this speeded-up process, a front desk or station with ample counter space and adjacent, large queuing space is needed to efficiently facilitate registration. In residence halls without a front desk, a satellite desk, which only opens in summer months, can be provided to meet this need.”

River City Construction of East Peoria, Illinois, is serving as the project’s ongoing general contractor. River City thus far has been required to construct 197,000 square feet of residential space, cafeteria, lounges, dining hall and various other spaces.

KWK’s ongoing work entails designing Phase II of Mizzou’s Dobbs Neighborhood Redevelopment, which will add two more residence halls and other academic buildings to the university campus.

KWK was founded in Webster Groves, Mo. in 2013 by a quintet of architects, and the company has undertaken over $1 billion in construction-related work since its founding a decade ago. The firm continues to work in educational construction across the United States.

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