SAINT JOHN’S UNIVERSITY
Sexton Commons
Collegeville, Minnesota

This project presented the challenges of site selection, and a design that blended with the two dominant architectural expressions on campus. This 140-year-old campus is a synergistic mixture of red brick building from the 19th Century, and Marcel Breuer’s sculpted concrete modernism. RRTL understood implicitly that the structure must speak of the timeless and enduring simplicity of most monastic architecture while expressing it in a contemporary manner. The resulting design employs two massive towers, a recurring theme at Saint John’s and in Benedictine architecture that anchor the structure to the campus. It is as if the Sexton Commons was always there. The warm red brick walls and the steeply pitched copper roof evoke a sense of domesticity that invites the campus community to enter.

This award winning Student Commons and transportation stop provides the students with a new 11,000 SF bookstore, student postal services, and has over 20,000 SF of student dining services. This includes a deli-style dining to accommodate up to 400 and a casual “sandwich pub”. The student activities offices are included in the building with their support offices. Two custom fireplaces accommodate lounge activities for student relaxation and discussion. The upper levels of the building include 4 large spaces for multi-purpose use of meeting and/or dining. The new building visually anchors the center of the campus and is central for convenience of student access.