Southern Methodist University

Creating a student destination

The Challenge

SMU told Miller Zell that it didn’t just want to renovate its Hughes-Trigg Student Center. It also wanted to create a modern, purposeful and inviting gathering space where students could socialize, study and be a part of the university community. The space needed to embody and celebrate the spirit of the school and build brand affinity while improving the overall student experience.  

The Solution

Miller Zell’s design team, collaborating with SMU officials, the architect of record and general contractor, began their process by immersing themselves in SMU’s brand and its students’ wants and needs. They focused on transforming what had been a transactional space into one that felt like a modern and comfortable destination. Strategically developed wayfinding was critical, as was a clean, modern look that told SMU’s forward-looking story.

The Result

The project became a top-to-bottom reimagining of the entire student center, where every detail mattered in terms of functionality, communication and experience. Said Dr. Kenechukwu Mmeje, VP of Student Affairs, “The result is a state-of-the-art student center which reflects SMU’s vibrant campus life and will serve as the hub of student engagement and leadership development for years to come.”