A Gateway to the Humanities
We renovated and expanded one of the University’s oldest and most architecturally significant buildings to create a student-centered humanities hub. The renewed building unites the English, History, Classics, and Philosophy departments in a series of spaces that respect the University’s past while looking to its future.
The centerpiece of the addition is a Humanities Commons opening onto a reading terrace. With a coffee bar and a variety of seating types, the living-room-like Commons provides an informal gathering space for student collaboration, conversation, and co-curricular club meetings as well as a venue for lectures and symposia. It has become a vibrant heart for the University’s humanities departments and a showcase for their work.
The great hall is preserved and as beautiful as ever.
The building was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, a leading architect of the Collegiate Gothic style. It opened in 1914 as the Academic Building and housed the University’s library, classrooms, and administrative offices, including the President’s office.
We restored the historic building’s slate roof and exterior masonry walls. On the interior, we restored original wood paneling in the stairwells and vaulted great hall while replacing non-original carpeting and light fixtures.
Expanding a Landmark
The addition’s historically compatible design blends seamlessly with the original building while expanding it by a third. It provides larger spaces - like the Commons - than the historic wings can accommodate, as well as needed infrastructure including an elevator and accessible restrooms.
In addition to classrooms and faculty offices, the building houses a specialized archaeology lab and the classics department’s Ancient World Gallery. This museum-quality space displays the University’s teaching collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts.
Energy Efficient Design
Our improvements to the building envelope work in tandem with new high-performance HVAC and electrical systems to increase energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.