Humanities and Social Studies Complex

Grinnell College

Grinnell, IA

Academic Innovation Higher Education


This project will enable the College to re-think its approach to teaching and research across non-STEM fields. Flexible and adaptable design will foster working synergies among students and faculty by supporting active, collaborative learning. The keystone of the design is an expansive addition that will unify two landmark buildings – the 1917 Alumni Recitation Hall (38,000 GSF) and Carnegie Hall (14,000 GSF) – to create an immersive, tech-rich environment.

The design of the Complex is influenced by our research and best practices on discovery-based learning and collaboration spaces. “Learning laboratories” for the humanities and social sciences, similar to those for the physical and natural sciences, will incorporate the latest technologies. Adaptable spaces with easily reconfigured furnishings will support multimodal pedagogies.

The program organizes neighborhoods by shared intellectual interests to enable cross-disciplinary inquiry. Open and semi-private informal spaces in close proximity to labs and classrooms foster effective intellectual collisions to extend learning beyond the classroom. The scale of the project has the potential to reactivate Grinnell’s main campus quadrangle, while breathing new life into two beloved historic structures.

Building Facts

  • Energy Cost Savings: $217,661
  • % Energy Cost Savings: 51%
  • Electric Energy Savings: 1,925,239 kWh
  • % Electric Energy Savings: 52% 
  • Utility Incentives: $350,000
  • 125,000 GSF new
  • 52,000 GSF modernization

Interior Atrium_FINAL.jpg

Exceeding the AIA 2030 Challenge

At 77% Energy Use Intensity savings compared to the AIA 2030 Baseline, the building outperforms the AIA 2030 challenge.

120 kBtu / Sq Ft / Yr BASELINE energy use intensity
36 kBtu / Sq Ft / Yr GOAL energy use intensity
28 kBtu / Sq Ft / Yr PREDICTED energy use intensity

More Projects Like This

Exterior of Steidle

Steidle Building

The Pennsylvania State University

Academic Innovation

Modernization transforms a 100+ year-old building into a world-class environment for Material Science & Engineering research.


College of Nursing, College of Dentistry & Bioengineering Institute

New York University

Health Education

Diverse lab spaces and a new student commons area create a world-class experience for tomorrow's healthcare leaders.