Southern New Hampshire University
Dining Hall and Student Center


MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited was awarded the commission to design a new Dining Facililty and Student Center as the Marquee project for the Southern New Hampshire University’s expanding Campus. The first step was to re-orient the center of campus according to the existing Master Plan. A driving design idea was to create a “campus crossroads” – the place everyone goes, where they meet, where they want to be. Also of importance, was to design a model for sustainable, green building practices. The building itself is comprised of a two story structure with a public “pavilion”, the “Grand Central Station” of campus on the south facing “public” side and north facing “services” tucked along back.

The materiality of the project reinforces the distinction between “public” and “service” space, and also employs a mix of the traditional and the modern. The north facing service bar is brick with punched windows, evocative of mill buildings and ties in to existing campus buildings. The south facing front is glass letting the world in, and a standing seam copper roof houses the “public” domain. The interior makes strategic use of wood to warm the various spaces within.

The environmental sensitivity and sustainability of the project were driving factors. Natural day lighting, passive solar energy, rain water collection for reuse in irrigation and woodchip boiler heating through radiant in-floor tubing, all contribute to the sustainability of the project.