Dramatic New Campus Center Celebrates
Smith's Vibrant Community
Oct. 24 Dedication to Mark New Chapter
in Campus Life at the College
Editor's note: Professional photographs
of the Smith College Campus Center are available. To arrange interviews
with Smith officials or with the architects, contact Laurie Fenlason
at (413) 585-2190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Smith College's campus
guide shows 44 student residences and 63 academic and administrative
The map's newest addition resembles none
of them in appearance. In purpose, though, it unites them all.
The Smith College Campus Center, a dramatically
contemporary 56,000-square-foot glass and steel facility, incorporating
a café, bookstore, mailroom, performance space, fireplace lounge
and meeting rooms, is the campus's first building designed expressly
as a common gathering space for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Located at the intersection of the college
and its town, the center invites the community to gather, exchange ideas,
relax and enjoy activities ranging from late-night coffee and jazz concerts
to pool and Monopoly marathons.
"Like many colleges today, Smith can
be an intense and engaged place," explained Dean of the College
Maureen Mahoney, "with high expectations inside the classroom and
"Except for the houses, there have
been few places where students could meet, talk, eat with other students
or visitors, or watch TV together -- and just be casual and comfortable."
Describing the center as a signature building
for the campus, Mahoney noted that its open plan, extensive natural light,
engaging views and vibrantly colored furnishings -- some designed by
the architects -- are integral to its purpose.
The building, she emphasized, "is about
openness, interaction, relaxation -- and fun."
Designed by the New York architectural firm of Weiss/Manfredi, the three-story,
$23-million center features a light-infused central atrium that forms a sinuous
curve from Northampton's Elm Street, splitting into two expansive walls of
glass that face a sweeping lawn at the center of the campus. Meandering walkways
through the building -- as well as a broad, gentle terrace -- challenge the
boundary between indoors and outdoors and create numerous opportunities for
casual conversation and informal meetings.
Since its "quiet" opening on August
25, the center has already become a natural and popular focal point,
with activity beginning early in the morning and extending well past
midnight. The center's director, Dawn Mays-Floyd, notes that more than
700 functions have already been scheduled in the building's various spaces
for this year alone. Events range from concerts, dances and parties to
lectures and films, as well as regular meetings of Smith's 150-plus student
organizations. The entire building provides wireless Internet access
and features distinctive custom furnishings designed for flexible configurations.
The public is invited to the center's formal
dedication and open house, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday,
Present at the ceremony will be special
guests Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, architects, whose other noted
projects include the Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
and the Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park; Northampton Mayor
Mary Clare Higgins; donors to the project; and former Smith President
Ruth J. Simmons, whose leadership is recognized in a quote inscribed
in the center's steps. Smith President Carol T. Christ, board chair Mary
Patterson McPherson and student government president Elizabeth Liedel
will cut the ribbon, marking the symbolic opening of the building.
Smith College is consistently ranked among
the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students
from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate
women's college in the country.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174