The Commons Student Housing
Villanova University | Villanova, Pennsylvania
Villanova University sought to transform a large surface parking lot into a vibrant new campus district, with a significant new student housing complex, The Commons, at its core. VMA, as architect of record in association with Robert A.M. Stern Architects, led the initial planning behind the district before engaging on the project design.
The complex includes 400,000 sf of new housing & amenities and a ground floor retail space all knit together by a series of courtyards, arcades, and cloisters. Six distinct but interconnected buildings hold over 1,100 beds in a variety of configurations, including singles, doubles, suites, and apartments. Shared amenities like social lounges and study areas, many situated around large arched windows, help draw students out of their rooms. A recently-completed pedestrian bridge across Lancaster Avenue connects The Commons to the rest of campus.
With a design approach dubbed “Villanova Gothic,” VMA was able to plan a major, multi-use development while seamlessly extending the campus aesthetic from its original campus. And, by being able to now provide on-campus housing to 85 percent of its students, the university enhances the ethos of the community and reduces traffic to and from campus.
Lastly, having earned LEED Silver Certification, with features such as a stormwater management system, the complex becomes a hands-on learning tool for environmental studies students and reaffirms the university’s commitment to eco-friendly construction.
LEED Silver Certified
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Best Stone Project, 2022
- "Unity at Villanova" by Kiley Jacques. Traditional Building Magazine, October 2021.
- "More Than Eight Years in the Making" by Susan Snyder. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 August, 2019.
- "Built to Last" by Colleen Donnelly. Villanova Magazine, Spring 2019.
- "Villanova Expanding" by Natalie Kostelni. Philadelphia Business Journal, 27 January 2012.
Size: 405,000 sf
Budget: $122 million
Architecture, Interior Design, Planning, Landscape, Sustainability