True to its regional roots while establishing a unique presence on campus, the building is filled with spaces for study, interaction, rest and recreation. Three stories spread over two wings feature 66 student rooms, with a lounge/lobby and coffee bar, study room, study lounges and showers on each level. The first floor also includes an apartment for a Berea Collegium Staff member responsible for managing the building. In addition, the basement level offers resident storage areas, a vending room, bike storage and a laundry room.
As part of the initial planning process, project architects first asked Berea students about their preferences for residence hall rooms. Their response: “a loft look”. Students also placed a high priority on comfort, with plenty of spaces for study as well as common areas for interacting or just “hanging out”.
The final design emphasized floor plans to encourage different levels of community, with small study lounges in each wing plus a larger, more active lounge on every level. Different accent colors create a distinct identity for each floor and help with wayfinding. Finish materials are meant to be both attractive and durable. In keeping with Living Building Challenge goals for “Conservation and Reuse”, a polished structural concrete floor pairs nicely with an exposed epi-core metal decking (painted white) for the ceiling. Walls are impact-resistant gypsum board with a painted finish. For contrast, the wood baseboard, door trip and wainscot throughout is made of tulip poplar from the nearby Berea College Forest.
Fine art also plays a prominent role in the building. Art niches on each floor will display student and teacher ceramics, weavings and paintings, while art murals brighten up the stairwells, laundry rooms and basement as well as in the student lounges and study rooms.