Building in coastal Downeast Maine can be challenging. We are currently designing a residence hall for the Downeast Institute, a marine research facility on Beals Island. The location is essentially a rocky outcropping jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

Building Performance

The 4,500-square foot facility was designed to have a thermally efficient envelope, optimizing the ratio of exterior envelope to net square footage. In other words, akin to techniques used in Passive House design, we kept the area of the building envelope small relative to the amount of usable space inside the building. Window to wall ratios are optimized for the specific climate: about 25% WWR on the south side, and as little window area as possible on the north side. This tactic proved easy to do by placing rooms with small window requirements (bathrooms, utility and storage rooms) on the north side, while public spaces (common areas, dining, guest rooms) are on the south side.

Security and Privacy

As a residential sleeping facility that is part of the University of Maine System, the building is designed to meet security requirements for dormitories. Perimeter security is established through swipe card locks. Entrance to individual guest rooms require swipe cards and a passcode. The residence hall will also house adults and families. In order to accommodate a diverse population, we designed rooms that can be used as dorms, as guest suites associated with the dorms, and as private suites separated from the dorms.