The Pennsylvania College of Technology was a non-traditional institution with a non-traditional need: to build its first-ever College-owned housing, to tailor this housing to its demographically unique student body, and to do all of this very quickly within a municipal historical district in a city that is sensitive to the intrusion of institutional occupancies into its residential fabric.
The resulting design met the approval of both the College and the municipality at every phase of its development, enabling a project with a very ambitious schedule to meet its targeted occupancy date. Occupancy occurred 16 months after the project was given a green light for design, despite an extensive city approval process, a winter construction start, the statutory requirements for multi-prime public bidding, and the nature of the contractor relationships inherent to that context.
The complex consists of thirteen two-story buildings, all of which are dedicated to housing except for a guardhouse / laundry building located at the main entrance. Numerous additional entrances to the fenced-in site are open only during the daylight hours. Every apartment has a private entrance from the exterior, thereby eliminating any indoor common areas other than the laundry.
Each unit included a mini-kitchen with a sink, a refrigerator and a microwave; and commodious bath and storage facilities in addition to two bedrooms and a common living area. Computer ties are provided to the College network for each resident, in addition to the usual telephone and TV hookups.
The architecture, while not replicating the traditional vocabulary of the neighboring Victorian residences, does respect that style in its use of materials (such as brick, shiplap siding and shingled roofs), in the scale of the buildings, and in the colors which were selected to be compatible with the palette found in the better examples of nearby existing structures.