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Eleanor Donnelly Erdman Hall

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1960–1965, Louis Kahn
  • (© George E. Thomas)
  • (© George E. Thomas)

After a desultory generation of mostly insignificant architecture, Bryn Mawr returned to its heritage of significant buildings when it commissioned Kahn to design its first dormitory since the 1930s. Working with Dean Mary Patterson McPherson, Kahn devised a building whose geometry of interlocking squares represented the connectivity of the college community while the palette of materials—blue-gray slate with expressed columns of reinforced concrete—mirrored the hues of Pembroke's great tower that it confronts across a lawn. In every way Kahn's building differs from Cope and Stewardson's masterpiece, but nonetheless, the connection between the two is powerful. Within, poured-in-place concrete walls, stairs, and ceilings are cold but forceful, an image not inappropriate for Bryn Mawr's intellectual realm.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Eleanor Donnelly Erdman Hall", [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, 197-197.

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