Buffalo, N.Y. — Greiner Hall will test accessibility in public buildings.
Buffalo, N.Y. — The first residence hall built on campus in the past three decades opened this semester at the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo. The William R. Greiner residence hall is a 600-bed, six-story, 198,500-square-foot building designed by Baltimore-based Cannon Design.
The suite-style hall offers wireless Internet access, a 50-seat Au Bon Pain café, multi-use classrooms, study spaces and fireplace lounges. It was also built with low-flow showerheads, high-efficiency lighting and counters and flooring made from post consumer materials, all of which are designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Greiner also features several components of universal design, which makes the building equally accessible to people with or without disabilities. Examples include contrasting-colored walls to help people with poor vision, raised electrical outlets that are easy to reach, over-sized showers and stair-less entries.
“Universal design is the right thing to do,” says Don Erb, director of residential facilities at SUNY-Buffalo. “Unfortunately it’s not a design principle that’s used commonly, but it is one that is growing.”
The effectiveness of Greiner Hall’s universally designed components will be tested as part of a research project that the university’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access is conducting with the goal of improving new universal design standards for public buildings. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Construction on the $58 million building took a little more than two years and was built through a public-private partnership between the University at Buffalo Faculty Student Housing Corporation and the state of New York.
– Lynn Peisner