Northeastern University began as the Department of Law of the Boston YMCA's Evening Institute in 1898, located in the YMCA's original building on Berkeley and Boylston streets. After this building was destroyed by fire in 1910, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge designed a new seven-story brick YMCA in 1911–1913 at 316 Huntington Avenue (NR). In 1916 the Northeastern College of the Boston YMCA was established, and six years later it became a university, housed in the new building's west wing.
The Main (now Krentzman) Quadrangle constitutes the original nucleus of the campus designed in response to an invitational competition held in 1934. It consists of three buildings: Richards Hall, toward the west (1937–1938), formerly a classroom and laboratory building for the School of Engineering and currently an administration building; Ell Hall, toward the south (1945–1947), is a student center; and Dodge Hall, toward the east (1950–1952), formerly the university library, is now the School of Business Administration (remodeled by Sasaki and Associates of Watertown in 1993). The landscaping of the quadrangle is by Pressley Associates of Cambridge (1985).
The winning competition design of 1934 is characterized by Beaux-Arts classicism: axial, symmetrical, and with buildings grouped around courtyards. Richards Hall, a steel skeletal-frame structure, exemplifies the first