J.M. Pile Hall
Higher Education, Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
J.M. Pile Hall
Constructed in 1932 as the primary residence hall for women on the Wayne State College campus, J.M. Pile Hall has enjoyed a certain stature as a student favorite over the past 80 years. After eight decades of continued use, however, the building and infrastructure had suffered, leading to concerns that the residence hall could no longer meet the needs and preferences of new student life.
Responding to the voice of the student population, the design provided a fresh balance of suite-style rooms, private restrooms, and living areas, along with traditional rooms with improved restrooms, recreation, and community spaces. Welcoming students is an open reception area overlooking a spacious sun-lit lounge, replacing the formerly tight and obstructed space. A recreation room, located in the once dungeon-like basement, provides ample lounge, gaming, and community space, furnished with flat-screen televisions, modular furniture, and a full kitchen.
Reviving the beloved residence hall not only served to enhance the quality of life for students on campus but resulted in a modern yet respectful response to the character and charm of the historic building, which students have come to love. Pile Hall is attractive again, leading to growing numbers of upperclassmen applying for residence, and more students living on campus longer. Looking toward the future of campus life, preserving the historic character of Pile Hall is indicative of what has become important to the Wayne State College community.
Photography by Tom Kessler