A Campus Centerpiece

Richard B. Flynn Campus Union, Springfield College
Springfield, Massachusetts

Named in honor of Springfield College’s 12th president, the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union is the focal point for a wide range of student activities at the spatial and symbolic center of the physical campus.  It features a 160-seat casual dining space served by five different food venues; a 50-person sports bistro; a bookstore, convenience store, and post office; a multi-purpose ballroom; a variety of meeting rooms and lounges; a spiritual life center; and suites of offices and open-plan workspaces.

The Flynn Student Union is, by nature, meant to be among a college’s most dynamic spaces, serving as the campus’s social nexus and as a junction for connectivity. 

 

A place teeming with young scholars, hustling through on their way to class; a place where prospective students are given a taste of what college life is all about; a place where friends meet for a bite to eat, or to share a drink at the end of a long day of coursework. Springfield College wanted its new Richard B. Flynn Campus Union to be a place for all of these things, and more.

In design conception, the new Union aspired to engage the College’s future and past: first, by repurposing the existing 21,600-square-foot building occupying the site, completely transforming its interior and exterior in conjunction with the construction of 37,000 square feet of expansion space; and second, through the presence of art and craft throughout the project—fireplaces and hearths of local stone, a mural illustrating the College’s mission statement, forged iron representations of the College’s seal ornamenting the railings, a large-scale sundial set on the plaza overlooking the lake, and, in technological contrast, computer-controlled colored lighting and a programmable electric carillon drawing students to the entrance rotunda.

Student Comfort

The Union is animated by the diversity of spaces and informal activities within, featuring: a 160-seat casual dining space served by five different food venues; a 50-person sports bistro, complete with large flat-screen televisions; a bookstore, convenience store, and post office; a large, sub-dividable multi-purpose ballroom, accommodating up to 175 persons for dining and 400 for lectures and events; a variety of meeting rooms and lounges, with amenities ranging from LCD projectors to fireplaces.

At the Threshold

Positoned between Campus and Natural Landscapes

SMMA’s design for the Flynn Campus Union aimed to make the building the focal point for a wide range of student activities at the spatial and symbolic center of the physical campus. In response to the rich duality of its setting, the building enhances the formal campus quadrangle with space-defining, two-story brick elevations, distinguished by an entrance rotunda topped by a contemporary interpretation of familiar New England campus spires and cupolas.

The opposite side takes advantage of its sloping topography to reveal the building’s three stories of program, highlighted by a panoramic crystalline façade that encloses the double-height dining hall and provides dramatic views of Lake Massasoit beyond.