Early in the process it was decided the design would not try for complete imitation: the original had hand-laid Flemish-bond red-brick walls that included large ornate cornices with integral gutters, that were capped with a slate-clad hip roof featuring numerous small dormers. Designers developed a new set of details respecting the existing aesthetic, and recognizing what made the original building special; the unique spaces created by the dozens of dormers, along with the charm of the brick accented with protruding painted cornices. The team developed a design vocabulary for the building that embraced the versatility, efficiency and economy of insulated architectural precast concrete.
The unique window openings posed a challenge, using traditional framing materials, such as wood, would have been very time-consuming and costly as they would have to be replaced after every pour. To overcome this, a 3D printed mold was used to create this custom look, allowing for a great amount of detail in a durable, reusable material.
With the completed renovation, Pioneer Hall is now a picturesque, modern and desirable residence hall that is home to 756 first-year and returning residents, featuring unobstructed views to the Mississippi River.