Design Award Entries

L.A. Davis Student Union Renovation

This transformative renovation breathes new life into a historically significant 1950s HBCU student union, whose layout had become confusing and fragmented over time. By reorganizing the program, relocating the core, and introducing the building's first elevator, the design enhances accessibility and clarifies circulation. The renovation celebrates the original mid-century heritage while ensuring the beloved landmark's continued service to future generations.

Project Statement

The 1950s Student Union at The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a beloved campus landmark, has undergone a transformative interior renovation to enhance functionality, accessibility, and the overall user experience after the exterior envelope was renovated in 2019. The design team made the bold decision to relocate the building's core from its deep, central location to a position just inside the facade, visible from the exterior. This strategic move dramatically improves navigation and clarity of space, allowing natural light to penetrate deeper into the building. The introduction of the building's first elevator ensures that all students, faculty, and visitors can easily access every level of the Student Union.
The second floor has been reimagined as an open, vibrant student hub, encouraging community interaction and collaboration. The design team remained committed to celebrating the Student Union's mid-century modern architectural heritage by restoring key elements, such as the exposed concrete ceiling structure, while seamlessly integrating modern upgrades and amenities.
This transformative renovation creates a space that fosters a strong sense of community, encourages academic and personal growth, and serves as a source of pride for students, alumni, and the wider community. As the Student Union enters this new chapter, it is poised to remain a vital hub of campus life, honoring its rich past while embracing its bright future and securing its position as an enduring symbol of the university's commitment to its students and legacy.