Swarthmore College’s “Danawell Connector”—a building project that merged the separate Dana and Hallowell residence halls—was named “Best in Education” at the 2016 IIDA PA/NJ/DE Design Awards earlier this summer.
Update Nov. 28: The addition, designed by JabobsWyper Architects in Philadelphia, also received a 2016 Architectural Excellence Design Award from AIA Pennsylvania.
Construction of the 73-bed addition, also known as "Dwell," began in summer of 2014 and opened to students in Fall 2015. Judges on the IIDA panel praised the design for “[exhibiting] characteristics that were nothing like traditional ideas of institutional residence halls” and creating a space that “overall felt more connected to human in a fresh an innovative way.”
Highlights of the renovation include increased accessibility, an 1,800 square foot multi-purpose room, a kitchen, a patio with a communal grill, stunning views into the surrounding Crum Woods, and furniture throughout that incorporates durable, colorful fabric. Linking the two buildings also gives students on each floor the option of both gender-neutral and gender-specific bathrooms
"Dwell is a special place because it allows for seamless connection between the old and the new, and between internal and external space," says Assistant Dean and Director for Student Engagement Rachel Head. "What was two small, benign buildings has now grown into a community where 250-plus students live together in a 'neighborhood' environment."