Best of Show/Best of Clay Masonry

UW-Oshkosh Horizon Village (Oshkosh, WI)

Students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh now have the option of residing in a recently completed 340-bed residence hall, designed by Berners-Schober Associates, Inc of Green Bay, in association with VOA Associates, Inc of Chicago. Occupying a triangular site at the southern tip of the campus, the $34 million project sits in convenient proximity to other residence life sites: the student union and campus dining commons.

The building’s massive brick exterior ties it visually to both the older campus architecture and the recently completed academic building at the heart of campus. As the new energy-efficient hall replaced three older dormitory buildings, its location and features exemplify UW-Oshkosh’s commitment to improving the quality of student life and building a more sustainable environment.

The five-story, 165,000 sq ft facility features a combination of suite-style units with either single occupant rooms or traditional shared occupant rooms, both of which group four students to a suite. Additional apartments within the residence hall provide housing for a live-in hall director and other staff. Single and double story lounges are located at the ends of the floors, with a larger lounge and kitchenette located near the central elevator and stair circulation core. The ground floor provides residents with large recreation areas and study rooms, while the basement offers hall offices, meeting rooms, laundry, storage and additional study rooms.

The solution places all of the dwelling units in a double-loaded building block that follows the edge of the site’s eastern side. Horizon Village’s structure bends twice to maintain a consistent relationship with the street and to shorten what would otherwise be very long corridors. To preserve a balance of green space, the western half of the site is reserved for a large recreation yard and also offers a clear view of the residence hall’s contemporary pergola and the entire west face of the impressive brick building.

Simple and strong masonry detailing is executed throughout the Norman brick building shell. A distinct, terra cotta hue resonates from the desert dark ironspot bricks that cover the building. Angular geometry of the façade, a combination of precast stone and masonry, gives the building a modern aesthetic, while lugged lintels, like-colored cast stone trim, brick and mortar all work to unify the cladding and form of the linear structure. Thermal bridging from masonry shell to interior is minimized via separation from the structural elements. In addition, large punched openings in the brick façade, with deep setbacks, conceal a secondary opening within the block back-up that allows for continuous insulation butted to the window frame.

Other sustainable features contributing to the building’s energy efficiency include the building’s siting, a large green roof over the single-story portion of the building and a geothermal well field under the semi-circular recreational space. The north-south orientation brings direct daylight into each unit for several hours a day. Each unit is able to harvest daylight via large glazed windows in each resident room and a large bay window in the living space, with varying types of glass to admit optimum light while limiting solar gain. The integration of technologically sound masonry detailing with building systems efficiency was designed to provide Horizon Village with an energy consumption rate almost 50% lower than a typical code-compliant building.

Project Plans 

Judges' Comments

  • The use of the simple masonry background to accentuate the openings and contrasting materials is excellent. This is a very nice composition.
  • The curved walk area is very nice with mixed stone a steel sun screen.
  • Nice use of the soft circle to break the lone lines. Entry catches the eye immediately.
  • Profound use of somewhat uniform color palette that lets the architectural forms speak for themselves.
  • Exterior covered walkway is an outstanding element of the overall design!

 Architect:Berners-Schober Associates

 General & Mason Contractor:Miron Construction, Inc

 Brick Manufacturer:Endicott

 WMA Producer/Supplier:County Materials Corporation