The Greenwood Student Center at Snow College was one of the last works of architect Neil Astle (1933–2000), who, in 1999, became the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award granted by the Utah Society of the American Institute of Architects. This was the fourth student center designed by Astle, and here we see a maturation of ideas he explored in his previous commissions at the University of Utah (1986), Weber State University (1987), and Salt Lake Community College (1988).
The Student Center is approached either from the central quadrangle or the street at the campus perimeter. Though aligned with these regulating campus features, the building is bisected diagonally, thus defying the axial expansion of the campus. The exterior is more representative of the nearby Classical Revival Noyes Administrative Building (1899–1908), with its articulated stone window surrounds and modular brick masonry, than of any interior manifestation of building programmatic elements. Entry to the Student Center is gained through inconspicuous and compressed lobbies at the corners that belie the light-filled interior atrium. This revelatory interior evokes medieval cathedrals with its filtered natural light from ambiguous overhead sources. Yet rather than an interior of stone and concrete, the finishes are largely gypsum wallboard with no suggestion of the structure that lies beneath. The wood sunshades are more a decorative appliqué than the structurally articulated lattice work seen in Astle’s earlier work. The diagonal circulation suggests its urban conditions: one end is oriented to the campus quadrangle, the other toward the city beyond.