Project Spotlight: Wildwood Baton Rouge

A resort-style oasis featuring low-country elements, Wildwood Baton Rouge provides LSU students off-campus housing with luxurious amenities.

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A private, off-campus student housing project, strategically located adjacent to Louisiana State University, needed to attract and retain residents in this highly competitive collegiate market. Our client wished to eclipse the competition by offering compelling amenities, including both intimate and large group study components with integrated access to technology. The key client directive was to create an environment rich in character and local flavor, while referencing the history and charm of Louisiana. Faced with a tight budget and grand exterior requirements including pool, spa, cabana and kitchen, the team truly needed to work outside of the box to deliver a compelling concept.

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Additionally, the expansive size of the project (305,100 sf with 204-units and 708-beds) and providing unique value within a competitive market were the biggest hurdles for this student housing project.

The design concept for this project was born from extensive research of both student-body demographics and competing neighborhood residential options, currently available and planned. An in-depth study indicated all student-focused residential properties appeared to be very homogenized and stereotypical, included “basic” amenities, and lacked any local character other than brightly applying university colors. Our approach quickly became clear, to provide students a resort-style oasis that includes architectural references and materials that embrace ‘low-country’ elements in a club-like atmosphere. The color palette would be a total departure from the expected school color scheme with a neutral envelope and calming, comfortable materials incorporated into most architectural and furnishing components.  Strategically located loose furnishings and art throughout will provide unexpected vibrant pops of color to energize the various lounge and dedicated study spaces. Importantly, the concept was executed with a keen eye on budget, maximizing impact of dollars spent, creating both practical and local resort-like elements throughout the project’s public and private components.

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An emphasis was placed on the expansive pool deck and indoor/outdoor connections that can truly enhance lifestyle in this southern region with sunrise yoga, exterior gaming and outdoor kitchens. 

The clubhouse and leasing areas are treated more like a resort than typically expected in student housing. This spectacular property features referenced local materials mixed with unexpected elements such as a grand suspended geometrical ironwork lighting element created by a local artisan. Various amenities are not all contiguous, yet the design language breaks down similar geometry in different scales to accommodate multiple uses. An equal emphasis is applied to lounge/resort type amenities and multiple study areas each incorporating a multitude of seating types and access to charging stations.  The clubroom and café areas, directly adjacent to the immense pool and spa, allow great indoor/outdoor connectivity with relaxation opportunities. Linear ’ship-lap’ board treatment and brick walls both are painted white while locally sourced wood is applied on a diagonal to create a simple, yet richly textured, envelope recalling similar authentic materials indigenous to the area. White walls are punctuated by modern black framed windows allow transparency and light to travel throughout. Soft textiles applied in multiple hues of teal and blue, add acoustical absorption. Unexpected bright pops of orange are found in strategically located seating and artwork to inject a youthful energy to the property. 

Kimberly CorentinAll, Ideas