St. Mary's Catholic Student Center | College Station, Texas

Unifying the existing church complex while creating a visual refuge from the campus and surrounding activity and traffic

In 1997 Ray+Hollington Architects won an invited competition for the design of a new student center, parish office, fellowship hall and chapel for Texas A&M University. The new student center would replace the original 1953 student center, which was built at a time when Texas A&M had fewer total students than it now has Catholic students. Located within College Station’s historic zone, the site for the new Catholic Student Center contains a major pedestrian path that connects student housing and the campus entrance.

The design intent was to unify the existing church complex through the use of materials and scale. A linear arcade provides a circulation axis through the site, linking facilities and parking and edging a courtyard. The Fellowship Hall, which flows out into the plaza, chapel, church and center, frames a courtyard, creating a visual “refuge” from the campus and surrounding activity and traffic. Visually opening the center to pedestrian/vehicular traffic, a high-performance glass wall curves to expose the activity within the Center.

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