Rutgers University – Sojourner Truth Apartments at The Yard

Elkus Manfredi Architects completed the Sojourner Truth Apartments at The Yard to accommodate students attending Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Set at the edge of the historic campus, The Yard occupies over 300 feet of frontage along the neighborhood side of the University’s main street, College Avenue. Designed in a U-shape, the Sojourner Truth Apartments’ three connected wings surround a courtyard, called “The Yard,” open to College Avenue. Oriented to the street in a gesture of openness and welcome, the apartments are atop a mixed-use ground floor with 14,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, a student Commons collaborative space, a 1,500-square-foot fitness facility, and several open common rooms and administrative offices. Designed for public access, The Yard is a new common ground between Rutgers University and the City of New Brunswick, revitalizing the University’s main street by offering social amenities for all. Students, faculty, affiliates of the University, and residents of New Brunswick are invited in the courtyard, the restaurants, and the large common room that anchors the lawn.

Design balances modern architectural forms and materials that evoke the history of the University. The “Girder Slab” high-rise has glass, metal, and terra cotta rainscreen cladding. Its three volumes form three edges of a courtyard, while the fourth side opens to the street. The center wing is 14 stories tall and offers dramatic views of New Brunswick and the historic Voorhees Mall on campus. The six-story south wing and eight-story north wing frame courtyard lawn, known as The Yard.

The Sojourner Truth Apartments are certified LEED-NC Silver. The apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows to allow for maximum exposure to natural light. Within the units, operable windows provide natural ventilation and reduce the need for artificial heating/cooling use. The building is energy- and water-efficient with a LEED total energy use savings of 33.5% and a LEED total energy cost savings of 24.9%. The project also meets New Jersey’s “Pay for Performance (P4P)” energy program standards, which identified a cost savings of 19.9%. From a water-efficiency perspective, the building achieves a 40% water use reduction over the base line of a code compliant building due to very efficient showerheads installed in the units, water efficient toilets, and user-sensor faucets. Lighting in the building uses efficient LED and compact florescent fixtures.

The Sojourner Truth Apartments at The Yard, in combination with the Rutgers Academic Building, and the Honors College Residences, were honored collectively by the U.S. Green Building Council of New Jersey (USGBC NJ), with the 2016-2017 Innovative School Project of the Year award presented to the College Avenue Redevelopment Initiative.

These student apartments are named for abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, a former slave who was owned as a young girl by the family of Rutgers’ first president Jacob Hardenbergh.

Architect: Elkus Manfredi Architects
Photography: Brad Feinknopf