August 18, 2017, BY Matt Hughes

When visitors approach one of the two new affinity houses opening on the Bucknell University campus this semester, they'll cross an irregularly shaped section of pavement. Instead of proceeding straight from the front door to the road, the pathway forks at a 60-degree angle and meets the sidewalk to inscribe an equilateral triangle — or the Greek letter delta — in the concrete. It's a small detail that didn't cost extra to install, but will go a long way to making the building feel like home to its eventual occupants.

The house at 125 Strohecker Farm Lane is planned to host the Delta Upsilon fraternity, which is recolonizing, and contains other architectural nods to the chapter's former house next to Bertrand Library. The two-story portico above the entryway replicates that found on the former DU house, as does the cherry wood trim on the building's first floor.

Now known as Hildreth-Mirza Hall, the former DU house was acquired by the University in 2005 and is currently under expansion to house Bucknell's Humanities Center. Prior to recolonization of Delta Upsilon, the affinity house at 125 Strohecker Farm Lane will be occupied by the Engin uity House, a themed residence community focused on service and community-based projects. Both houses are owned by the University.

The concrete delta and portico at 125 Strohecker Farm Lane pay tribute to the former Delta Upsilon house, now Hildreth-Mirza Hall.

Similar tributes can be found next door at 75 Strohecker Farm Lane, which will lodge the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity starting this semester. The mahogany finishes inside and square-columned portico and diamond-pattern window trim outside that property echo the fraternity's former home on University Avenue. A pair of gold-painted stone lions — which once belonged to the chapter and were recently rediscovered in University storage — also evoke the building's heritage, and its windows pay tribute to the former house by eliminating grilles on the lower sashes, an element specifically requested by SAE alumni.

"We were able to add certain key elements, while staying within budget, to give each building its own personality," said Jim Rebuck, project manager for Bucknell Facilities. "We worked with the fraternity alumni associations, the SAE chapter president and Dean of Students Amy Badal and incorporated their feedback into the final designs."

The gold lions outside 75 Strohecker Farm Lane, home to Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, were rediscovered in University storage. 

The buildings maintain this individual character while blending seamlessly into the historic fabric of the Bucknell campus, including two adjacent affinity houses that opened in 2012 (the Lambda Chi Alpha and Kappa Delta Rho fraternities) and the South Campus Apartments complex, which opened in 2015. Their exteriors are wrapped in Bucknell's signature brick laid in Flemish bond, both hallmarks of the campus' Collegiate Georgian architectural style. A concrete staircase between KDR and the South Campus Apartments and was added to enhance connectivity with the rest of campus. The houses were designed by the architecture firm Stantec and built by construction manager Quandel.

The single rooms inside the new affinity houses are comparable in size to those found in other Bucknell residence halls. 

Accommodations inside the new houses were built to meet the same standards as those elsewhere on campus. Each 12,500-square-foot home contains 26 single rooms of approximately 110 square feet, the standard size for Bucknell residence hall rooms. The facilities have heating and air conditioning controlled by Facilities energy management systems.

Each house also contains a first-floor chapter room, a catering kitchen where meals are served by Bucknell Dining Services, a large dining and event space, and laundry facilities connected to LaundryView, an online service showing where and when washers and dryers are available on campus. The first floor of each building, including bathrooms and three bedrooms per house, is ADA-accessible.

Each affinity house contains a kitchen and large living and dining space.

The houses were built with many sustainable features and are anticipated to meet at least LEED Silver standards for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Environmentally conscious features include well-insulated walls; double-pane, gas-filled windows; low-flow water fixtures; paperless hand dryers; LED lighting; and the use of recycled and regionally sourced materials in construction. Outside, the design used materials to reduce the heat island effect and promote energy efficient transportation. Neutral-tone shingles, concrete sidewalks, a sheltered bicycle rack and preferred parking spaces for low-emissions vehicles support these aspects of sustainability.