‘Superdorm’ design stresses affinity program

When the new mega residence hall opens along H Street in 2016, student groups will be able to plan events around the breakfast table and hold impromptu meetings in their hallways.

Seven floors of the $130 million building, known around campus as the “superdorm,” will be dedicated to living and learning communities, which allow student organizations to house their members together. Nearly a third of the building will be divided into 20-student wings, each of which will include a large common room and kitchen space.

Bedrooms will make up about half of each wing, with a common room in the middle and a kitchen at one end, according to recently released draft designs.

The building will also include 200 apartments and 400 singles.

Its affinity program will include about 250 students, Director of GW Housing Programs Seth Weinshel said.

Weinshel said the floor plan design will allow groups to hold meetings in their common rooms, cutting down on the demand for campus space elsewhere.

“Sharing community space with other people will add to the groups’ success,” Weinshel said.

The building’s design will be finalized this semester after the plans are vetted by the city’s historic preservation committee and zoning commission. The building will merge The West End with The Schenley and Crawford Hall, with construction beginning this summer.

The University has increasingly stressed the learning component of housing, requiring that students involved are part of registered organizations or sports teams to avoid cases in which students take advantage of the system just to live alongside their friends.

The design is the first at GW to prioritize the affinity housing program, a goal in the 10-year strategic plan.

President of Green GW Isabelle Riu said the design will help her group grow closer while also providing “a casual feel” to smaller committee meetings.

She added that it would provide extra storage space for a group she said is currently in the Marvin Center “cramped in an office” that Green GW must share with five other groups.

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