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Smith Hall

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1967–1970, John M. Adams for Whiteside, Moeckel and Carbonell

Even unattractive buildings have stories to tell. This facility occupied the site of an old house called “The Knoll” and contained classrooms and offices for arts and sciences, serving a booming campus (its population had increased from 5,500 students in 1963 to 13,000 four years later). Colleges nationwide rushed to build similar multipurpose facilities, many with this kind of brick-and-concrete aesthetic that projected a modern look yet employed a traditional red-brick-and-white-trim color scheme. Here the two materials were deliberately used in similar proportion of light and dark to that of the main campus. Design associate Adams was a former student of architect Louis Kahn. The challenge in the design was to move crowds through the building, so it was made accessible from all four sides and free from constricting corridors. Three auditoria could be entered from outside. Classrooms and offices faced a large central atrium. The basement housed what was then a great novelty, a computer center, and the public could watch the machines behind a glass partition. Fear of water damage to the computers led to a change in plans, and skylights were never installed above the atrium, leaving it gloomy, which a recent redecoration did little to alleviate.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Smith Hall", [Newark, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 186-186.

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