George Washington University Thurston Hall

Washington, DC

Located two blocks from the White House on the Foggy Bottom campus, Thurston Hall is George Washington University’s largest freshman residence hall and is critical to the first-year experience for many students. The 100-year-old building has seen many uses since in its lifetime but had previously had no comprehensive renovations. CMTA served as the MEP engineer for this 200,000 square foot complete interior overhaul. 

All building systems were completely removed, giving George Washington University the chance to focus on sustainability and health and wellness goals. The building features a Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) with energy recovery, rainwater collection, and Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). The lower level dining service incorporates energy-saving strategies, including water source refrigeration, and demand controlled ventilation. An active circadian lighting system will be used for interior spaces that have no viable daylighting options. The project scope also included high efficiency water-source heat pumps on the upper floors. The project is targeting LEED Gold and WELL certification.

Additionally, the central courtyard design brings the rhythms of Washington, D.C. into the heart of the building. With the intent to draw students out of their rooms and into modern common areas, the design integrates academic and social experiences around a lively central spine with views, clear orientation, and collaboration space. Breaking down the building’s density through a variety of light-filled flexible spaces, the renovation creates clear orientation around a new three-season atrium. The program includes a multi-purpose area, food service and penthouse student space that offers natural light and city views. The hall houses 825 students in doubles and singles, as well as faculty in residence and residential life staff.