University of North Texas University Union

Denton, Texas
Expanded, Renovated, Revitalized

If you snapped before and after pictures, you’d be hard pressed to recognize UNT’s student center building in today’s photo.

Where a windowless, dark shell of a building once stood, a transformed building now serves as a center stage for thousands of musically gifted students. It’s their place to be and be seen, to grab a bite, and to compete for band bragging rights. Oh yeah—and to study, too.

Its sense of purpose is also crystal clear now. As one visitor who walked through the structure said at the end of her tour, “I know exactly what this university is about.” It’s a good thing since the stakes for universities have never been higher. Now high school students on college tours see state-of-the-art facilities that also serve as a place to rock.

A large courtyard functions as a gathering spot for friends, or a change of scenery from the library.
Embedded in the main corridor floor is UNT’s fight song, a subtle moment of discovery that instills pride.
Mobility

Students once complained of a dark and disorienting building. But now, the Union is open, airy, and simple to get around.

Student activity just naturally flows here thanks to the clear entrances and open, multi-story atrium. Inside, students count on extensive “lines of sight” thanks to its open walkways, natural daylight, and the increased porosity of an entirely new exterior skin.

Utilizing the brand of the university throughout, referencing it has the power to form meaningful connections. This hanging sculpture, comprised of 3D acryclic letters, showcases UNT’s values–and the alignment of ideals between school and student.
"The design team [was] absolutely amazing to work with. They did a wonderful job on a very difficult project."

Zane Reif, Senior Director, University Union

Multi-purpose areas flex throughout an entire day cycle to inspire students to interact and perform.
People

A large mul­tipurpose ballroom with capacity for 600 banquet seats. A 500-seat performance and lecture auditorium. A late-night music performance, food service lounge, and pub: These are the new and improved spaces that anchor the new design, but more importantly, the future of a student body. A student body that pours life into every corner of every space with an infectious enthusiasm for making music 24/7.

Open spaces and hallways are filled with natural light and students hustling to their classes.
An inspirational quote from UNT’s founding president reflects the university's commitment to be "leaders in the education of the young men and women of Texas." UNT stories are threaded throughout the space, providing moments of discovery and connection to place.

Project Team

People
Jeff Stebar
People
Eileen Jones