Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Olivetti Training Center Dormitory

Tarrytown, New York


This dormitory facility for an existing Olivetti Training Center in Tarrytown, New York, was designed to house two hundred Olivetti trainees for periods of four to six weeks. It is one of two Olivetti buildings planned for a specific site, the other being the corporate headquarters for Washington, D.C. The four-story dormitory follows the contours of a sloping site, winding its way through century-old trees. The curbing W-configuration of the ground plan reflects the influence of three major site considerations: the locations of the trees, the inclination of the slope to the Hudson River below, and zoning laws and side-lot restrictions which force the building to turn down the slope while maintaining a north-south orientation.

The building accommodates two hundred trainees in double rooms, and contains communal and recreational spaces. A continuous circulation spine follows the outside edge of the W-configuration on four similar floors. Two-person unites lining this single loaded corridor face the river.

Where the building turns down the slope, two floors are gained, and these house services and social spaces. At the elbows of the curves, the corridors meet small open areas, gathering places for the trainees. The main entrance is at the center of the building, and opens into a four-story public space, which resolves the converging horizontal and vertical vectors of the scheme. Balconies projecting from the upper-level corridors into the central space unify the floors. The elevator and stair towers pulled out from the main structure serve as counterpoints to this centralized focus.

The articulation of the aluminum panels on the front elevation relates rhythmically and thematically to that on the more open rear elevation. At the inflection points of the curved surface, the panels give way to glass: on the rear, a balconied, eroded section of glazing responds to the axis of entry, while on the front, the panels are replaced by curving runs of windows.

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