CONCENTRIC COMMUNITIES OF LEARNERS
Central to the mission of Eckerd College as a residential liberal arts college is the creation of a holistic and integrated educational experience for students. Such an educational experience requires residence hall facilities that enhance community building, foster and support the personal and intellectual development of students, and provide appropriate space for formal and informal gatherings for academic and recreational purposes.
In October 2002, Eckerd College engaged Brailsford & Dunlavey, a nationally recognized facilities planning firm, to provide an assessment of the College’s student life facilities.The housing portion of their study included analysis of peer institutions, student focus group research, demographic analysis, local and national market analysis, and internet surveys of Eckerd constituencies.Their work was coordinated with the award-winning Ayers/Saint/Gross architec- tural firm, the College’s campus master planning firm.
The results of Brailsford & Dunlavey’s research reaffirmed the College’s philosophical vision of residential life on campus and guided the design of the Iota Residential Complex. The buildings reflect a scale similar to the original campus
housing complexes with a two-story design in a cluster of four houses. Each floor offers a mix of single and double rooms adjacent to inviting lounge spaces.This arrangement fosters a sense of community and avoids the institutional atmosphere created by linear corridors.Two houses feature kitchenettes while two others offer laundry facilities to encourage movement and interaction among the residents of the four houses.The gathering areas of Iota are conducive to both planned and spontaneous activities and reflect a fluidity and continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Iota embodies the College’s commitment to a residence hall design that will maintain and
enhance the character and ethos of the Eckerd community. The profile and scale of the complex, the spatial relation of its buildings to one another and to neighboring residential complexes, and the arrangement of its living and gathering areas foster the creation of the concentric circles of community that are so vital to an enriching living and learning experience for students. The roommate relationship, the bonds formed among residents on each floor, the community established within each house, the unity of houses within the complex, and the relation of the complex to the larger residential village are interdependent components of the multi-leveled organic community that defines residential life at Eckerd College.
THE IOTA COMPLEX
ECKERD COLLEGE / page seven