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Iconic Qualities




Three of our recent clients have three very different, singular, memorable, iconic main buildings. Each is fulfilling a vital role on its campus and each is at a different stage of its recurring life cycle.

St. Charles Hall – Carroll College, Helena, Montana

The most typical of the Old Main type, the central portion of St. Charles was the original building for Mount St. Charles College, the precursor to Carroll College. Designed by the Washington D.C.-based A.O. von Herbulis and built in stages from 1909 to 1924, St. Charles is the campus architectural icon, and its palette of red porphyry ashlar blocks with limestone trim and red tile roofs is repeated in several campus buildings. The uses in St. Charles run the gamut from student housing to classrooms, to academic office space to fine arts and music studios to the theatre for the College’s thriving performing arts programs (formerly the college gymnasium. The College is working to give St. Charles a first-rate renovation to extend the life of this much-loved symbol of the College.

Isaac Delgado Hall (Building 1) – Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana

This neo-classical building designed by Edward Angelo Christy (then architect for the city of New Orleans) and completed in 1921 is both the iconic symbol of the College’s City Park campus and its most heavily-used academic and administrative building. Pressed into intensified service in the aftermath of Katrina and the closure of over a third of the campus’s facilities, Building 1 houses classrooms, administrative offices, and the departments ranging from Music to Biology to Child Development to ESL to Theater and the Fitness Center. In order to accommodate accelerating growth (now just shy of pre storm levels) the College is working hard to create new academic space to decompress Building 1 and facilitate renovations that will extend its contributions to the campus and the critical role Delgado is playing in the city’s and region’s re-building.

University Hall – Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Probably the least traditional of the three buildings, this building was designed by Chicago architect George C. Nimmons and began life in 1928 as a Sears Roebuck department store. Acquired by Lesley in 1994, and now re-named University Hall, it currently houses nearly half of the University’s classrooms, its science programs, its signature School of Education, as well as a vibrant retail floor at street level to maintain a neighborhood amenity and contribute to the activity in Porter Square.

Although these buildings are very different in history and function each has endured due to some fundamental qualities:

Size – All of these buildings are large, ( St. Charles=75,600, Delgado=118,000 NASF, University Hall=166,000 net square feet) making them more accommodating of change, and churn.

Adaptable Structure – Each of these buildings has structural qualities that have ensured longevity and evolutionary capabilities. St. Charles sustained only minor damage to mostly ornamental elements in an earthquake that hit Helena in 1984, and has a robust mixture of large and small spaces to accommodate changing uses. University Hall makes minimal use of bearing walls relying on structural columns that facilitate relatively easy space reconfiguration. Delgado Hall is probably the most structurally constrained, but is at least durable enough to sustain long periods of minimal re-investment. All of the buildings have higher than currently-typical floor-to-floor heights, allowing introduction of systems never contemplated by the original designers and users without compromising the spatial qualities of the rooms.

Campus Heritage – Each of these buildings is the highest profile building on campus and in the case of St. Charles and Delgado Halls, so much of the institution’s history is bound to the building that separating the two is nearly impossible. Even University Hall, though a relatively recent acquisition, was instantly the most prominent of Lesley’s buildings and connects it most directly to its neighborhood. The very fact of its acquisition sent a signal to the community that Lesley is a dynamic, growing and entrepreneurial institution with a significant public role, symbolizing its transformation into a distinctive University with an enviable national reputation.

Good Esthetics – This is critical. To become an icon, it generally helps to be attractive. None of these buildings are the very best of their types, but all of them evince a refined, handsome presence that speaks to the institution’s region, longevity and aspirations.

George Mathey




Arthur Lidsky will be leading an interactive session at the annual Council on Undergraduate Research conference. The title of the session is: “Oh no! After all that work and we can’t afford the project!”

PROJECTS In- Progress
A classroom and laboratory study for Tennessee Tech University to assess the suitability of these spaces for teaching and learning.

We are just beginning a planning and programming assignment for the SUNY College of Optometry.

We are working on a set of projects for Bowling Green State University - providing space needs assessment and projections for the master plans for the Main campus and the Firelands campus and preparing a facility program for new student housing on the main campus.

Also underway is a campus master plan for Chattanooga State Community College.

We are consultants to Davis Brody Bond Architects for the expansion of the campus of Umm Al-Qura – a Saudi Arabian University that is expected to double in size to have an enrollment of 100,000+ students by 2035.

Nearing completion is a facility program for three of the science departments at Lafayette College: Biology, Computer Science, and Earth and Environmental Sciences.



Recently Completed Projects

  • Carroll College Campus Plan
  • Facility Planning and Programming for the University of Massachusetts
  • Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Space Allocation Guidelines
  • The facility program for the campus plan for NYU’s new campus in Abu Dhabi



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