Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Grinnell College

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Grinnell, Iowa, USA
120,000 square feet / 11,000 square meters

The Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center is the second of three projects that PCPA designed for Grinnell College. Named for a former trustee in recognition of his half-century of service to the college, this warm and inviting oasis is the geographic and social center of the campus. The brick building is composed of three stone-clad pavilions. By articulating the massing into these smaller forms, the architecture harmonizes with the scale of the rest of the campus. The building’s U-shape creates a courtyard surrounded on three sides by an undulating glass curtain wall.

The north side of the building, facing a large campus green, contains all dining functions. The kitchen, servery, and one small dining room are to the east, and the main dining areas are to the west. Within this large open area are two levels of dining spaces. A formal dining room is within a rectangular limestone pavilion at the northwest corner of the building, where windows look out onto the courtyard and the green. Across the courtyard to the south, Spencer Grill, with café and lounge seating, offers casual dining.

The south side of the building contains the main entrance, adjacent to a terrace and a loggia. The southwest corner is anchored by a curving, green-slate-clad pavilion containing a large multipurpose room. A gallery for student art, the campus post office, a TV/game room, and a computer lounge are also on the first floor. Meeting rooms, offices for student organizations, the campus radio station, and kitchens for multi-cultural student groups are on the second floor. The student affairs office is on the third floor.

At the heart of the building, a tall elliptical pavilion clad in Chinese red porphyry and topped with a skylight contains the fireplace lounge. With its monumental black granite fireplace, slatted wood ceiling, and warm colors for carpeting and upholstery, this informal space has a welcoming atmosphere. In other parts of the building, wood-paneled walls and slate or wood floors achieve a similar effect.

The Student Center earned LEED Certification for environmental sustainability. A reflective roof, heat recovery mechanisms for the food service equipment, and the use of triple-glazed windows in the exterior envelope contribute to the energy efficiency of the Center.