Syracuse University – Ernie Davis Hall

Project Description

The new student housing at 619 Comstock Avenue is the first residential project at Syracuse University in over thirty years. As such, it has the opportunity to enhance the quality of life of the students, to participate in the general sustainability of the campus and to urbanistically improve the currently underutilized site at 619 Comstock Avenue.

The proposed building massing at 619 Comstock defers to DellPlain Residence Hall and simultaneously celebrates its geographical proximity to the Quadrangle and the Lawn. Juxtaposition of program elements capitalizes on the character of the site and the dynamic interconnectivity of the programmatic elements themselves. Distributed along the length of the Comstock block, the programs animate the spaces of the building and the street. The southwest entrance, located at the corner of Comstock Avenue and University Place, is the front door to the residence hall, the dining hall, recreation and academic programs, as well as DellPlain Residence Hall via the breezeway. This active area is facilitated by an interior sidewalk or inclined plane that rises through the dining hall to the second or DellPlain level, in essence connecting the Quadrangle and the Lawn with the entire DellPlain block. The interior sidewalk provides relief from the elements, while physically and visually connecting the diverse activities within and outside of the building. Walkers, bikers, stationary bikers, billiards players, diners, academics, visitors . . .

Dining is dispersed on four terraced levels that negotiate the topographic slope of Comstock Avenue, merging the dining space with the exterior. Recreation and academic functions, the residence hall entry and retail spaces are located on the second partial level overlooking either dining or the courtyard between DellPlain and 619 Comstock.

On the residential levels, twenty-four students and one residential advisor form close-knit residence life communities. Corridor windows, lounges and studies are strategically placed to maximize daylight, transparency and views, transforming the typical residential internalized double-loaded corridor into a more porous, light and view enhanced experience. Student rooms are an equal combination of singles and the traditional Syracuse split double.

The expanse of the two story glazed wall along Comstock Avenue addresses the collective university experience. The individuated windows of the upper residential facades speak about the identity of the single student within the greater collective.




Project Information

project: 250 bed residence hall; 500 seat regional dining hall; recreation, academic and retail facilities
client: Syracuse University
location: Syracuse, New York
completion date: spring 2010
building area: 145,000 square feet
construction cost: $45 million


  • LEED Gold Certification
  • 2016 AIA New York Design Merit Award
  • 2012 South Atlantic Region AIA Merit Award


  • Innovative Student Residences : New Directions in Sustainable Design, Avi Friedman, Images Publishing 2016