The New Student Center & the Dining Commons

A new student center at the site of Merrill and McGuire will support a vibrant community and offer students new social spaces.

President Biddy Martin Your participation has already mattered. It will matter even more as we move forward to create more of the kinds of spaces that we know are lacking at the College. I look forward to the conversation.

A New Hub for Student Life & Community

We have long needed a center on our campus that will support our vibrant student community and offer students the kinds of social spaces that will help them thrive. After several months of soliciting feedback from on-campus constituencies, via town-hall gatherings and smaller group discussions, the College has developed a preliminary brief and selected an architect.

Merrill and McGuire locations shown on campus map

The Location 

The new center will be situated on the current location of Merrill and McGuire, a spot chosen for the way it mediates between the historic main quad and the new Greenway. The site offers spectacular views and unusual topography that the architect is eager to preserve and feature.


Although Merrill and McGuire will be taken down, the architect proposes incorporating the foundations of these buildings into the new design as both an architectural opportunity and a sustainability measure.

Like the Science Center, the new building will have sustainability embedded in all aspects of its design. 

The Architect

Herzog & de Meuron (HdM) is a Swiss firm best known for prominent projects such as the iconic “Bird’s Nest” stadium in Beijing (created in conjunction with artist Ai Weiwei for the 2008 Beijing Olympics), and the transformation of the Bankside power station in London into the Tate Modern art museum.

HdM also has a longstanding practice of using much smaller projects to refine their expertise in the areas for which they are best known: creating nuanced environments attuned to human experience, and developing spaces that heighten, rather than mask, the specifics of a place.

The firm’s projects feature materials and shapes in thoughtful dialogue with their surroundings and strong connections between indoor and outdoor spaces. They are well known for sustainable design.


Once the programming phase is complete, the architect will develop a conceptual design that will define its architectural characteristics. The goal is to complete this design by late spring 2020, at which point a timeline for the construction phase will be published here.