Skip to content

Commons Center

Commons Center

The new Commons Center is part of the University’s larger undergraduate student living-learning initiative and was designed to support a community of ten college houses. The new LEED Gold Certified building serves as the primary dining hall and community square of this campus-within-a-campus.

Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Completed: 2007 115,000 sf LEED Gold Certified
Photography by © Richard Mandelkorn Photography

The Commons Center is part of Vanderbilt University’s undergraduate “living-learning initiative,” supporting a community of ten college houses. The program includes a 600-seat main dining hall, servery and production facility; lounges, meeting rooms, administrative offices, and academic support center; a post office, fitness facility, and 24-hour café.

The LEED Gold building carefully balances contemporary and classical design; its modern forms and composition use materials that reflect the existing brick and stone of the neighboring structures, including a National Register collection of Classical Revival 1920s buildings.

The design maximizes daylighting and passive shading and uses skylights, sun-tracking shades and switches, and eco-sensitive fireplaces. Water-efficient design saves an estimated 900,000 gallons of potable water annually. Other green features include waste grease collection and an outdoor composting facility.


  • 2007 College Planning & Management, Green Design Award, Judges’ Choice
  • 2007 ABC Tennessee, Award of Excellence in Design
  • 2008 USGBC Green Star Award
  • 2008 AS&U Outstanding Project Award, Educational Interiors
  • 2008 ACUI Facility Design of Excellence Award
  • 2010 ULI Nashville, Excellence in Development Award