April 26, 2005

Bartlett proves to be a lot more than an old gym filled with food

Bartlett Commons recently enjoyed a moment of glory not involving manly sports. The Association of College Unions International (ACUI) selected the cafeteria as a recipient of the first-ever Facility Design Award. Bartlett Commons shared the award, created to encourage excellence in design of student-centered facilities on campuses, with eight other facilities across the country.

The award process began in late 2004, when architectural firms nominated their projects for consideration. Of the 22 entries nominated, the eight winners were selected on the basis of the facility's appearance, the process used to arrive at the final design, and the facility's impact on campus.

"The challenge was to introduce entirely new uses into the building, concealing the complex new infrastructure that 21st century occupancy and codes require seamlessly into the historic structure," explained Bartlett Commons' designers, Bruner/Cott & Associates, on their webpage. Bartlett Commons' renovation included installing a modern food service operation and 10,000 square feet of new activity space.

The ACUI's award is just the latest recognition of the renovated gymnasium's design and impact on campus. In 2003, Bartlett Commons won the Grand Award from Building Design and Construction and the Higher Education Facilities Award from the Boston Society of Architects. The Boston Society of Architects had also singled out Bartlett Commons in 2002 for an Honor Award Citation. In 2002, Midwest Construction named Bartlett Commons the Project of the Year.