Built in 1970, Mercer Hall was the newest residence building on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus until 2011, but historically the least popular among students.
The initial design phase was challenging: provide 900-1,200 beds, navigate the site’s 40 foot elevation drop, and effectively use the residence hall as a connector between a major regional bike trail, the waterfront, and the rest of the University of Washington campus.
After considerable research, complete demolition and new construction proved to be the most cost effective solution for the university rather than a substantial renovation of the existing Mercer Hall. Mercer Court was completed in 2013 with 930 beds in a mix of apartment style four-bedroom/two-bedroom options, six-bedroom/six-bathroom options, studio apartments, and two-bedroom/one-bedroom options. Mercer Court sports several large common areas, views of Portage Bay, music-practice rooms, coffee roaster, and café. The units are designed around elevator cores that connect the end portions of the buildings vertically offering access to a rooftop terrace, ground-floor exterior arcade, and a student-run farm. The complex is split into three different buildings and offers nine month agreement periods for students.