Svigals + Partners Completes Renovation at Quinnipiac University

By Eric Althoff

HAMDEN, Conn.—Designer Svigals + Partners has successfully completed renovating Quinnipiac University’s Center for Communications and Engineering (CCE). The structure was originally designed as a law library in 1995 before being converted into a building that hosted classrooms, laboratories, lounges and study areas. However, university personnel believed the space could be even better utilized specifically for engineering and communications education purposes.

Svigals + Partners’ scope of work entailed transforming a three-story atrium into classroom space. In their redesign of the entire building, the firm also envisioned “huddle rooms” and computer lab in addition to the modern classrooms. The reimagined lounge space allows for more sunlight throughout the day to enter its open layout.

Additionally, the design and construction team reconfigured previously exposed mechanical systems. To add to the modern feel of the building, a large monitor broadcasts various school news and achievements throughout the day. Other installed wall monitors showcase activities taking place throughout the academic labs and serve to draw people toward the rooms where such experiments are occurring. Nearby, a display case also highlights trophies and various other student accolades.

“The redesigned student lounge turns an underutilized gathering area into a prime meeting place designed for interdisciplinary teamwork and connectivity,” architect Christopher Bockstael, AIA, partner of Svigals + Partners, said of the work. “Each of the collaborative settings draws students and visitors in to pause, stay and engage.”

Added April Gaddis, an architectural designer and associate with Svigals + Partners: “Our ongoing communications with Quinnipiac’s skilled facilities team and with BVH, our engineering partners, helped drive the project forward in timely ways, despite a tight timeline challenged by extended lead times for materials and construction.”

Svigals + Partners worked with general contractor Wohlsen Construction. The firm’s senior director of development, Bob Labanara, said in a statement to School Construction News that as a New England-based firm, Wohlsen is dedicated to higher education work throughout the region—particularly at Quinnipiac University’s School of Computing and Engineering.

“We were honored to collaborate with QU’s facilities team and design experts from Svigals + Partners to help transform a collective vision for the school into tangible, new learning environments that QU students and faculty deserve,” said Labanara.

“These flexible environments for the engineering and communications students and faculty foster a deep sense of community,” said Bockstael. “Showcasing student work in the makerspaces, labs, and across disciplines encourages the student body to visit the lounge and see what’s being done, inspiring more productive collaboration and innovation at the CCE.”

Svigals + Partners, based in New Haven, Conn., was founded in 1983. The firm provides full-service, art, architecture and planning firm dedicated to building educational and other facilities.