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William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ

Today’s colleges and universities are in stiff competition for students. That competition is based on a number of factors—with architecture and aesthetics playing a significant role. Beautiful facilities impress prospective students and their parents, and that has led the higher education market to up the ante, as it were, with regard to architecture and design⎯all while adhering to technical performance requirements to ensure buildings stand up to heavy use.

No where is that more visible than in University Hall, an 80,000 square foot academic building on the William Paterson University campus in Wayne, New Jersey, a facility that includes general classrooms as well as the College of Science departments of nursing, communication disorders, and public health. Here, NK Architects used Laminam by Crossville Filo in a 1m x 3m format to skin the stunning, three-story atrium light well walls. An elegant porcelain with an edgy, chain-mail texture and superior technical characteristics, Filo is a study in sophisticated juxtaposition—a spot-on choice for the design-forward facility.

The interior architect team selected two colors of Filo for the project, Argento and Oro, and utilized these varying shades, installed vertically, to create a tone-on-tone tile installation that pulls the eye up and down the length of the light well, emphasizing its impressive height and dimensions.

Set in a larger landscape of white, gray, and brick tones—with pops of intense, autumnal orange—the large format pattern serves as a feature that ties the stories together and adds a much-needed art element to the space. While Laminam’s high-style appeal played a significant role in its specification by the NK Architects’ team, its long-wearing, low maintenance, and sustainable profile was equally desirable, as the building earned LEED gold certification.

Begun in May 2014 and completed in December 2015, the $40 million University Hall project—funded in part by a $30 million state bond—plays an important role in the university’s larger plan, “The building represents a significant step in the revitalization of our main instructional facilities as we provide faculty and students with state-of-the-art teaching, clinical, and research spaces,” said Kathleen Waldron, president of William Paterson University, at the facility’s grand opening on January 13, 2016.

Serving a minimum of 4,000 students each semester, University Hall is a hub of learning, with its specialized classrooms and clinical spaces, as well as small and large study rooms. Thanks to eco-friendly and leading edge design elements such as an outdoor terrace, a green roof, and sustainable surfaces including Crossville’s gauged porcelain tile panels, University Hall is fully in step with the spirit of the progressive university of which it’s a part.

  • Architect: NK Architects (PIC, Daniel Topping, AIA; PM, Robert Harker, AIA; PA, Andrew Lewis)
  • Interior Designer: NK Architects (Jay Beispiel, CID and Julia Spector, CID)
  • General Contractor: Dobco Inc. (PIC, Hossam Ibrahim; PM, Keith Wagner; Super, Vasko Curovic)
  • Installer: Hi Tech Flooring
  • Distributor: Garden State Tile (Gina Vanarelli, Architectural Representative)