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Pembroke and Rockefeller Halls

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1892–1894, 1900–1901, Cope and Stewardson
  • Pembroke and Rockefeller Halls
  • Pembroke and Rockefeller Halls
  • Pembroke and Rockefeller Halls

With East and West Pembroke halls, Cope and Stewardson in collaboration with the Olmsted firm turned Bryn Mawr away from the Victorian campus planning that placed individual buildings in a lawn to a new system of connected buildings enclosing the perimeter of the campus. East and West Pembroke are linked by a grand Gothic tower whose broad arch spans the main path of the campus and focuses on Taylor Hall's tower. Pembroke set a standard for Philadelphia's practitioners of English Academic Gothic—Frank Miles Day and Zantzinger and Borie, whose works span the country from Wellesley College to the University of Colorado.

A second towered gateway at the intersection of Yarrow and Morris avenues provides a view toward the new library. It was the principal feature of the second major phase of dormitory building that was funded in 1900 when President Thomas asked for and received the aid of John D. Rockefeller. Its more historically accurate and slender proportions are like those of Cope and Stewardson's Brookings Hall Tower at Washington University in St. Louis, but the details celebrating Bryn Mawr's collegiate customs, owls (representing Athena), flowers, and lanterns, are uniquely its own. Rhodes Hall (1937, Thomas and Martin) begins a secondary range of development on the lower tier behind Goodhart that continued Cope and Stewardson's Academic Gothic but with fussier detail and a shift to the local schist as the main building material. In a remarkable juxtaposition presumably made necessary by the Great Depression, the contemporary furnishings made of inexpensive plywood in the students’ rooms in Rhodes Hall were designed by Marcel Breuer.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Pembroke and Rockefeller Halls", [Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 194-195.

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