Georgia Institute Of Technology Historic District
National Register listed : 1978
The Georgia Institute of Technology Campus Master Plan : http://www.space.gatech.edu/currentmplan.htm
Academic Information : www.gatech.edu
Official Location of Georgia Tech's Historic Dictrict (see blue rectangle on map at left) : Intersection of the centerline of North Avenue and Cherry Street, proceed north to intersection of centerline of Uncle Heine Way. Follow centerline west to intersection with alley running behind Coon Engineering Building. Follow alley to north and turn east along walkway on north side of Mechanical Engineering Building. At intersection with Cherry Street follow Cherry Street to intersection with Third Street. Follow centerline of Third Street to alley behind D.M.Smith Building. Follow alley along centerline, around steam plant to line parallel with the rear of the Lyman-Emerson Chemical Laboratories. Follow behind labs to line parallel with the western edge of Grant Field. Proceed along this line to the northern edge of North Avenue at which point proceed east to a point opposite the eastern edge of the Old Rockefellar YMCA. At this point proceed south to the rear lot line of the YMCA. Proceed along rear lot line to the centerline of the roadway on the west side of the YMCA. Proceed north along roadway to the centerline of North Avenue to intersection of the centerline of North Avenue and Cherry Street.
Original Builders : Multiple - See building physical appearance descriptions below.
Original Architects : Multiple - See building physical appearance descriptions below.
Years of original construction: 1888-1925 - See individual building descriptions below.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The Historic District of the Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly known as the Old Campus of Georgia Tech, is significant in the areas of architecture, education, engineering and science, as well as landscape architecture. As one of the major engineering institutions in the United States today (it ranks 8th) Georgia Tech, founded in 1885, has long been a driving force in the southeast in the area of technological training and innovation for continued industrial and scientific expansion.
Born as the result of a conversation between Nathaniel Edwin Harris, a prominent Macon, Georgia attorney and Major J. F. Hanson, manufacturer, Georgia Tech's beginnings- at least conceptually- can be traced back to early May, 1882. At that time Major Hanson met with his Friend Harris to explain the need for a technological school in Georgia. Hanson argued that such a school would be mandatory in Georgia if the state was to be provided with the educated manpower and leadership necessary for a continued industrial expansion. Harris agreed and in the course of the conversation remarked that "I would rather be the author of a law establishing such a school than to be Governor of Georgia."
But, as it worked out, Harris became both author of the law and governor of the state. The immortal Henry Grady, of the Atlanta Constitution, joined forces with Harris and Hanson, picking up the cudgel and likewise fighting vigorously for the creation of the school that was to become the Georgia School of Technology.
Georgia Tech was founded in that period when the general cry for industrialization was finding a response in the establishment of engineering schools in all parts of the Nation. The actual resolution introduced before the Georgia legislature was passed on November 24. 1882 and then Governor Alexander H. Stephens immediately appointed a commission of ten men to visit and study the lending engineering schools in the United States. On recommendation of the Committee the general assembly in 1885 appropriated $65,000 for the establishment the Georgia School of Technology.
One of five competing cities which also included towns like Athens, Macon, and Penfield, Atlanta made the high bid of $130,000 in land and money for the site of the new school. A professor from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts was engaged to organize Georgia's first engineering school and in 1887 construction of the first: building was begun on a five-acre tract purchased from the Peter's Land Company; Richard Peters later donated an additional parcel of land to bring the size of the original campus to nine acres.
Dr. Isaac Hopkins, who had offered the first technological course ever taught in the south at Emory College in 1880, was chosen as Georgia Tech's first president The school opened on October 3, 1888 with a total enrollment of 84 students. Formal "Installation services were held at the De Give Opera House.
The Old Campus
The Old Campus of Georgia Tech is significant for more than just the design of the buildings of which it is comprised. For whereas the buildings within this portion of the campus are not necessarily outstanding works of architecture, the most important quality of "the hill is its sense of space and time. As is evident in the placement of the buildings within Old Campus, little thought was actually given to the future expansion of the then young technological school. Instead, the site planning was carried out in such a manner as to meet the immediate and pressing needs of the school. This practical approach to siting has created what is, today, the Old Campus' most significant quality: its sense of space. The scale of the buildings appear almost European when experienced from points along the narrow circulation paths within the area. These paths, obviously pedestrian at one time, have new been asphalted to allow administrators to park their cars "at their doorways" which contributes, of course, to a visual destruction of the harmony found within this portion of the Tech campus. However, the spatial qualities are so much stronger than this visual blight that one still "feels" the space even though one recognizes that the cars not belong and are out of place. The balance of the buildings in this area is so delicately arranged both around the existing terrain and undesirable surrounding intrusions, that the removal of a single building would totally destroy the character of this district and would render it much less significant.
The "harmony" found within the Old Campus is attributable to the fact that almost all of the buildings located there are "turn-of-the-century", 1885 - 1923, and all exhibit a consistent approach in design and construction. However, the consistency does not include repetition of style or form and this in itself is significant.
The Administration Building: Let by a contract on May 5, 1887 to Angus McGilvray who bid $43,250 to construct this building designed by Bruce and Morgan, the old Academic Building was completed by 1888. This structure once housed Tech's Library, President's Office, Classrooms, and other academic facilities. It was remodeled in 1963-64 on the Interior with major alterations. It's best known feature is its "Tower" with the word TECH emblazed on each of its four sides electrically lighted at night, making it a landmark in Atlanta.
The Carnegie Building: Donated by Andrew Carnegie to Georgia Tech on March 1-2, 1906, this served the school as a library until November of 1953. Construction was officially begun on this building on November 21, 1906 and the facility opened in September 1901. Columbia University Contributed 700 books to Tech around the time of the opening and Julius L. Brown later denoted an additional 3000 books from his estate along with other gifts.
The Old Infirmary : Presently used as the Dean of Students Building, the Old lnfirmary is significant in that it was a woman's organization, the Women's Federation of Clubs in Atlanta, that assisted then President Kenneth G. Matheson in raising the money to build the health facility. In November 1909 Mrs. Joseph B. Whitehead, widow of the man who had made his fortune in bottling Coca-Cola, contributed $5000 and by the summer of 1910, $15,000 had been contributed and construction began.
A. French Building: Erected in 1897 by a philanthropist from Pittsburgh, Aaron French, this building was initially Tech's School of Textiles. French helped to establish the school with a generous contribution of money and machinery. The building was converted in 1949 for use by the School of Industrial Engineering and was renovated with a $1.5,000 grant from the Rich Foundation. (1898 -Lockwood, Greene & Co.)
Knowles Building: (DEM. 1992) A former dormitory erected in 1897 through the assistance of Clarence Knowles, a local resident who had helped to secure the initial $20,000 needed from the state legislature to begin construction of this building, Tech's first planned dormitory. It has been remodeled three times: 1924, 1947 (when converted to office use) and again in 1964. Currently in danger of demolition, this building provides a significant barrier to what would otherwise be a monstrous intrusion, the Grant Field stadium.
D.M. Smith Building : Built by the Carnegie Foundation at a cost of $250,000 in 1923 this building was the first structure to establish an architectural style that was us used consistently for all Tech's buildings. For twenty years, the style of this building -a variant of English collegiate - was used with great regularity after having been decided on by Professors Skinner and H. Bush-Brown of Tech's School of Architecture. Initially to house Architecture and Physics, the building now houses Social Sciences, Psychology laboratories and mathematics offices.
Lyman Hall Laboratory: Built in 1905-06 under legislative appropriation of $10,000, this Lyman Hall Lab was Georgia Tech's first Chemistry Building. Named after Lyman Hall, a president of Georgia Tech, this neo-Romanesque revival structure was completed at a cost of $20,000. Hall, who changed Tech from a small trade school into a major engineering institution, died two months prior to the cornerstone laying of this building, which had been a pet project of his for some years.
Swann Dormitory: Erected through the contributions of James Swann of New York, this $30,000 building was opened in late 1901; an additional $5000 towards the construction of this "memorial" building was donated by William Randolph Hearst. Built as a memorial to Swann's wife, Janie Austell Swann, the structure is presently used to house the Department of Modern Languages. Some renovation was undertaken in 1964.
D. P. Savant : Formerly the Old Electrical Engineering Building the Savant Building was built in 1901 and is named after Domenico P. Savant. Two incandescent electrical light standards, 1911, frame the entrance of this building and were a gift of the class of that year.
Emerson Building : Built in 1925, as an addition to the Lyman Hall Laboratory of Chemistry through the use of funds generated by the Greater Georgia Tech Campaign of 1921, the Emerson Labs are named in honor of Dr. William Henry Emerson who served as head of Department of Chemistry from 1888 until his death in November, 1924. As part of the original faculty Emerson constantly sought to bring better facilities to the school and the $100,000 structure provided a badly needed lecture hall and laboratories for both the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Originally site of the "Shacks", two-story wood-sided buildings that had been used since the beginning of Georgia Tech as dormitories, the Emerson Building serves both to the northeast corner of the old Tech campus and to further define the space created by encircling the centrally located Administration Building (1888). Emerson is also vital in preventing the adjacent concrete and steel West Stands of Grant Field, a 58,000 seat stadium, from being considered a definite intrusion on the integrity of the historic dis-trict.
John Saylor Coon Mechanical Engineering Building (1911) :beaux-arts Renaissance in style, the Mechanical Engineering Building located at the corner of Ferst Drive and Cherry Street represents the first extension to Tech's original nine acre campus. Built with the aid of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce who raised $22,000 towards the total $178,000 cost of entire facility, the building was erected in several stages. The first three of its five units were up by 1912; in August 1919 the legislature appropriated $100,000 for the remaining two units of which one was erected by 1920 while the other was not completed until- 1938.
John D. Rockefeller YMCA Building: Donated by means of a $50,000 gift of John D. Rockefeller in February of 1910 the Rockefeller YMCA was built at a cost of $75,000 of which $25,000 was donated by friends of the school. Used today as a center for Architectural Research, this building is soon to be renovated for use as a National Alumni Headquarters. Like the Administration and no-longer extant Old Shop Buildings, this structure was designed by the firm of Morgan and Dillon, a carry-on of the old Atlanta architectural firm of Bruce and Morgan.
Georgia Tech has had far too many "firsts" and outstanding personages associated with engineering and engineering education to recount all of them here. One of the oldest radio stations in the U.S.A., WGST, founded in 1923 by the Honorable Clark Howell was a gift to Tech in that that year. Georgia Tech was also one of the first six schools in the United States to establish and maintain a Naval ROTC program (founded 1926). Personalities associated with the school include such famous people as Bitsy Grant (tennis); Bobby Jones (golf); Ivan Allen, Jr. (politics; mayor of Atlanta); John Heisman (football coach); Charles Lane (humorist); Chip Roberts (Assistant United States Treasurer); and Y. Frank Freeman (Paramount Pictures magnate)
Thus Georgia Tech is significant in the fields of architecture, education, engineering and science. It possesses the valuable resource of turn-of-the-century buildings which not only reflect the schools attitudes towards education at the time (straight forward without adornment" but provide a sense of space and intimate enclosure that one seldom finds today. Within these historic structures men both great and small, from Dr. Hopkins who presided over the school in 1888 as its first president to John Young, who walked the moon in 1969, taught or were taught and each contributed significantly to the overall development of Georgia Tech. As a whole the Old Campus reflects an attitude and a time place that in itself is rare. This is attributable in part to the fact that the old Campus has no serious intrusions with-in its boundaries and as a results allows one to explore a technological college campus of the late nineteenth century.
ORIGINAL AND PRESENT PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
The Historic District of the Georgia Institute of Technology is situated on and around the crest of "the Hill", the highest elevation of the school's original nine-acre campus. Comprised of twelve buildings described in greater detail below, the old campus Historic District is an attractively landscaped cluster of mixed-period classroom, dormitory and administrative brick buildings. The "random" siting of these structures around the centrally positioned Administration Building (Old Academic Building) has created urban spaces that are at once intimate and stimulating and seldom found today. Hundred year old trees shade those red brick structures and enhance the sense of spatial enclosure created between buildings. An asphalt roadway, Uncle Heinie Way, wraps itself around the Administration Building forming a "loop" and provides both service and vehicular access to the buildings in this portion of the Campus. A new plaza, Harrison Square, (1968), which both a hard surface of brick and concrete as well as an open green space, was created after the demolition of the Old Shop, a near-twin to the adjacent Administration building. The old campus is defined by North Avenue on the South, Grant Field, a 55,000 seat football stadium on the East, Third Street on the North and Cherry Street on the West.
ADMINISTRATION (OLD ACADEMIC) BUILDING
Bruce and Morgan Architects 1888
A good example of the work of the well-known Atlanta architectural firm of Bruce and Morgan, the present Georgia Tech Administration Building is the focal point of the Old Campus. Designed to serve as an "Academic Building" this neo-Romanesque inspired Victorian red brick structure remains as one of the tallest buildings on the campus. Four stories high it appears taller due to the fact that not only is it sited on the highest elevation but it also has a seven-story-high central tower topped with a high pitched roof. The front facade of the Administration Building is representative of the general architectural composition of all the facades of this building. In mass, the front elevation is composed as a central four-story block with hipped roof and tall central tower that projects from the face of the building so as to create a porch on the main floor. This "central block" is then flanked by two side extensions of the building, the left one, treated in a late Romanesque-like manner has a front end gable with tourelles while the right side is treated as a simple side wing with pitched roof and a pedimented gable dormer. The windows in all the blocks are symmetrically placed with respect to their particular block and all are of the 1/1 variety. All windows are set in simple, rectangular wood frames with the exception of the third floor windows in the main block of the building where the tops of the windows are rounded off to appear arched. The central entranceway is a storefront-type glass door set under a double Romanesque arch in the tower of the building. These arches are supported by brick piers on either end and by a single, distinctive pink marble column at midpoint. Above the arches on both the second and third floors are windows set in groups of three; this pattern in continued on the fourth floor but here the windows are topped with a round arch divided vertically into three glass panels. The tower continues to the sixth floor when there are three small 1/1 windows set adjacent to one another. Above this point begins the elaborate brick cornice of the tower with its corner tourelles and central gable-end also flanked by turrets with conical "candle snuffer" roofs: the gable is broken by a small semi-circular three-part window. In front of the cornice is suspended the large neon letters spelling out TECH which replaced earlier light bulb version installed in the 1920s. The tower is topped by a high pitched slate roof.
THE CARNEGIE BUILDING 1906-1907
Located immediately adjacent to the cast side of the present Administration Building (1888) the Carnegie building served Georgia Tech as its first Library. Erected under the auspices of the Carnegie Corporation, this two-story red brick building is a good example of the beaux-arts Classical style so popular with the Carnegie Foundation for library facilities. The front elevation is divided into three parts, a typical arrangement for this style, with the central portion, serving as an entrance, being brought forward for visual emphasis on this part of the facade. This entrance, strictly classical in derivation, has a two-story portico of red brick with two limestone ionic Columns in antis, both of which rest on large limestone and brick bases; the cornice above these columns bears a plaque of cast bronze inscribed with the- words "Carnegie Building" and is flanked by two limestone swags. Above the cornice and set into the limestone-coped brick parapet wall is a large cut stone slab bearing the words "Georgia School of Technology" and flanked on both sides and top by highly decorative cartouches, The doorway set against the recessed wall of the entrance portico, consists of a set of metal-framed double glass doors that are inserted into an elaborately carved archway whose Keystone contains a sculpted face from- which emanates swags that run across the brick wall above. The arch is infilled above the doors by a Roman bath-inspired window lite. On the second floor, above the front door and separated from it by a band course of limestone, is a double window with a single window pane that is set into a very heavy stone frame; this window is flanked by a similar, though single, window on each side. The windows across the remainder of the facade run through both of the building's two stories; there are three such windows in the facade to either side of the projecting entrance bay. These windows are separated by brick pilasters while the edges of the building are defined by larger, giant-order pilasters of brick. The Carnegie Building, serving initially as a library was designed to house all of Tech's library needs in a single facility containing two small reading rooms and stacks to accommodate 20,000 books. The facility rapidly outgrew its usefulness due to its space limitations and by 1960 had been remodeled by Georgia Tech, at a cost of $90,000, for use as offices by both the Vice-President of Academic Affairs and the President of the Institute.
LYMAN HALL LABORATORY OF CHEMISTRY 1905
Built in 1905, the Lyman Hall laboratory of Chemistry is a two-story red brick building located directly behind the Carnegie Building (1906) and adjacent to the A. French Building (1898) on the Old Campus of Georgia Tech. Built utilizing mill construction, the Lyman Hall Lab stands as one of the most interesting buildings of the Old Campus, especially when compared to those around it. Contrasting with the plain facades of the French and Knowles buildings, Lyman Hall is intriguing in that hidden behind its small almost European-scale front facade is a rather large, laboratory facility which for its day could not be considered to be lacking in any way. Executed in a neo-Romanesque revival style, Lyman Hall is five bays in width, with each bay separated by giant-order pilasters which rest on a common marble and brick base; the middle three bays project slightly so as to make the centrally located entrance more prominent. The entrance to the building is set back five feet under a shallow arch that has a decorative terra-cotta keystone and is set on elaborate terra-cotta pilaster capitals; the doorway consists of a pair of large paned glass and wood doors simply treated. Above this entrance and set between the two giant-order pilasters of the central- bay of the building, is a large plaque, executed in terra-cotta, which bears the name of building. The first floor windows of the 1/1 variety, are typical of the times and are set in simple wooden frames utilizing the marble coping of the giant-order pilaster base as sills. The lintels of the windows are more ornate, however, and use a jack arch that is terminated an top by a long strip of terra-cotta molding that at each end terminates in a volute. The Windows of the first floor, like those of the second floor, are set in pairs. Second floor windows are also of the 1/1 variety, possess marble sills and simple wooden frames but unlike the first floor windows are fabricated with the upper halves rounded off so as to completely infill the neo-Romanesque round arch lintels. Each arch, at its spring point, rests on simple terra-cotta pilaster capitals that are set in flush with the facade. The cornice of Lyman Hall is classically inspired, and consists of two narrow moldings, a plain entablature, all of which is topped by dentil molding above which the cave projects on consoles. The pedimented gable of the building also possesses the same dentil molding and console supported eaves; the roof of Lyman Hall is a low-rise hipped roof and is covered in slate. On the interior, the Lyman Hall Chemistry Labs have received only one major renovation following the disastrous Winecroft Hotel fire in Atlanta (see memorial plaque on Peachtree Street around Peachtree Center Marta). This caused a crackdown in fire-code enforcement and thus produced changes in this building. Due to the fact that dangerous organic chemistry labs were being held in this structure, all open stairwells were walled up and both heavy metal fire doors and a sprinkler system were added. The first and second floors of the building house Chemistry related activities while the basement of the building is currently being used by an Air Force ROTC detachment. The first- floor has two classrooms, each of 40 student capacity, and one large lecture hall for 200 people. On this floor are also found two freshman chemistry laboratories, a solution room for chemicals and offices for professors. On the second floor are two additional labs, only one of which is in use. Also found on the second floor are office for graduate assistants and a chemical stockroom; the remainder of the floor is presently non-functional due to structural problems.
THE EMERSON CHEMICAL LABORATORY
Bush-Brown and Gailey Architects 1925
Made possible through funds generated by the Greater Georgia Tech Campaign of 1921 the Emerson Labs were built as an addition to Georgia Tech's first chemistry building, the Lyman Hall Laboratory of Chemistry, in 1925. This addition, designed in a simplified version of the Jacobethan Revival style, matches the three story height of the adjacent Lyman Hall Labs and creates a small courtyard space between the two buildings. The main entrance to the Emerson Building faces south at the side of the Knowles Building (1897), projects slightly from the remainder of the facade, and is the most decorative portion of the structure. Executed a la beaux-arts, the ornate stonework around the entrance consists of a gable with boxed cornice and returns set on consoles that at the scotia bears an elaborate cartouche containing a superimposed "GST", the initials for the Georgia School of Technology. Under this console-supported gable, set into a cut stone facade, is a three-foot deep barrel vault infilled between stone quoins with red brick: the keystone of the exterior arch of the vault is replaced by another console which blends into another cartouche above which bears the name of the building. The doors to Emerson are glass and wood and are set beneath a six-light vertically divided transom that infills the arch form of the barrel vault. Surmounting this doorway is a single light window (now containing an air-conditioner) set in a heavy stone frame that terminates above the window in a gothic arch. The facing of Emerson has been executed in a red brick utilizing a Flemish bond and limestone for all decorative work, window frames, coping and string courses. On both the east and west facades the brick work is carried above the third floor to create a series of run-on gables broken only a single small rectangular window in the center of each; two such gables form and define main (front) portion of the building as viewed from the east. The remainder of Emerson consists of a lateral 3-story laboratory wing that extends along the east side of the building to the rear. This wing is broken only by a gable-end bay window near the back of the building which runs through all three floors.
A. FRENCH BUILDING
Lockwood Greene and Company, Boston 1898
Completed in 1898, the French Building was initially designed to house the School of Engineering. Located near the center of the Old Campus of Georgia Tech, this red brick structure stands directly behind the Administration Building (1888) and to the Lyman Hall Chemistry Laboratory (1906). The overall, straightforward and no-nonsense educational philosophy of early Georgia Tech is readily seen in the design of this factory-like building. Utilizing mill construction the architects Lockwood Greene and Company of Boston, designed the facade so as to almost no ornamentation. Standing three stories in height the front- facade of the building is characterized by its numerous segmented arch windows which have radiating brick-patterned lintels (made of four courses of brick headers) and rough-cut granite slab sills. The entrance to the building is of the split-level type, which due to the sharp slope of the site led the architects to arrange for the entrance to the building to be placed about mid-point in the elevation and to have stairways both up to the main floor and down to the ground floor. This main entrance on the exterior consists of a pair of wood and glass doors placed beneath a two-part transom (one a 6x2 lite rectangular transom, the other a radiating fan-lite version) all of which are set into a round arch opening that rises through a story-and-a-half. This entrance way is unusual in the sense that the brick which frames the opening is not square-cut but round This entrance arch also possesses the only marble keystone to be found on any of the buildings facades. The cornice for the French Building is relatively light, made of wood that has been painted white, as with all of the wood trim of the building, and is supported by a series of wooden "brackets" that are actually extensions of the oak rafters of the roof. Rafters, beams, and columns have been used throughout to form the primary structural system of this building. The interior of the 32,200 square foot A. French Building is still very similar to in initial layout of 1898. Only minor changes have been made, the largest alteration being performed in 1947 by the firm of Bush-Brown, Heffernan and Gailey; this renovation, cost $15,000, consisted primarily of classroom/office space changes necessary when the building was converted from the school of Textile Engineering to the School of industrial and Systems Engineering. Two fire escapes, of metal construction, were also added at this time, one on the east and one on the west side of the building.
JOSEPH WHITEHEAD INFIRMARY (Now Dean of Students Building)
Located on Cherry Street, just north of what is presently Harrison Square (1968), the Joseph Whitehead Memorial Infirmary was built in 1910 in a Style that can best be described as a Georgia variant. This two-story, red-brick building rests on a three- foot high coped marble base. It has a central entrance portico of one-story supported by two fluted columns topped with Tuscan capitals, a full and classically correct entablature and an eave supported with relatively flat consoles; the roof of the portico is typically flat. The doorway to the building is set within a round arch which rests on two short pilasters. Larger, full-height pilasters flank the archway and the entrance door, set the opening, is of the glass store-front variety. Lower floor windows are of the 2/2 variety and are set into segmented arch brick lintels which have both keystones and endstones of marble: sills on all windows are also of marble. The second floor of the former infirmary is separated from the lower floor by means of a marble and brick string Course. Upper floor windows, also of the 2/2 variety, are set in simple, white painted wooden frames. The entablature of the cornice of the building is of brick, set as headers and separated both above and below the cornice line by a string course of stretchers. The entablature sports ten terra-cotta and cast stone decorations of a geometric pattern, four of which have beneath them triangular -shaped slabs of marble set in the fašade The cornice is of wood and is supported by double consoles spaced every two to three feet- The roof to the building is hipped, covered in slate and is broken at the edge on the north and south sides of the building by high brick chimneys.
THE D. M. SMITH (OLD PHYSICS) BUILDING
Francis P. Smith, Architect Robert and Company, Associated Architects 1922-1923
Executed in an eclectic style that first made its appearance in the United States at Princeton University in 1913, the D. M. Smith Building was designed with a subtle blend of both classical and Gothic elements. This Collegiate-Gothic style building stands three stories in height, not including its full daylight basement-ground floor. Its exterior entrance details, complete with Ionic columns and a bracketed pediment, the finials above the cornices of the pitched roofs, and the cartouche ornaments found in the gable-ends of the building all reflect the classical influence on the facade. However, even though this building possesses certain classically inspired details, it must be pointed out that the Gothic style is the dominant of the two used in the design, as is seen in the bay windows on both ends of the front facade, the white limestone sills of all the building's windows, the band courses contrasted with the large brick surfaces of the building elevations, and the emphasized verticality of the pitched, slate roofs. In both plan and elevation, the key characteristic of the D. M. Smith Building is its Symmetry. Circulation patterns, such as the halls, stairways and entrances, are all symmetrical about the General Laboratory on the ground floor, and repeat themselves on the first and second floors about the central Lecture Hall and even on the third floor which has no large, central space. Symmetry of window arrangement on all floors has produced consistent elevations but some peculiar room treatments -such as a bay window the student's toilet on the third floor. When completed in 1923, this reinforced concrete building housed: 3 electrical labors, I physics lab, 2 halls, 2 libraries, 3 architectural drafting rooms, 2 civil, engineering drafting rooms, 2 photometry rooms, 2 physics research rooms, 2 studios, 8 classrooms, 1 x-ray room, 6 apparatus rooms , 1 workshop , a Director's Laboratory, chemistry room a switchroom, a pendulum tower, an architectural supply room, and 9 faculty offices. Since 1923, the Smith Building has been altered only once, in April 1970, When the firm of John W. Cherry and Associates renovated the interior of the central Lecture Hall, Room 105, adding a curved, suspended ceiling to the two-story space, wall-to-wall carpeting and a vinyl wall covering. SAVANT BUILDING A simple brick structure, the Old Electric Building is symmetric in design and is representative- of many of Tech's early structures. A central entrance of cut limestone is composed of two simple but broad pilasters topped by a simple and undecorated entablature and cornice, the former bearing in dark metal letters the present name of the building "D. P. Savant". In front of this entrance, on two short podiums stand two electric lights on cast iron posts and bases that dated from 1911, a gift of the graduating class of that year. Immediately adjacent to the entrance and separated only by a thin strip of the red brick which faces the building is an 8/8 window; four such windows are found to either side of the entrance and nine more on the second floor. The windows of both floors have limestone sills and jack arches, the latter being treated in a rusticated manner. The third floor is separated from the first two floors by means of a limestone string, course which projects slightly under each window to form a sill. These third floor windows are of the 4/4 variety vertically divided. The entablature of the building is a narrow band of limestone and is topped by a simple console supported eave of some three feet in depth.
JANE AUSTELL SWANN DORMITORIES 1901
Extremely classical in derivation, this three story former dormitory has a symmetrical. red-brick and cut limestone facade complete with a central two-story Tuscan portico. This portico, supported across the front by four Doric columns and on the. facade by two Doric pilasters, is simple but massive. The cornice and entablature are proportionately correct with the frieze bearing the name of the building cut into the stone, The columns sit on the base of the porch with steps placed between the three-foot diameter columns to give access to the ground level. A central doorway (now a glass storefront door) is found under the portico with an 8/8 window to each side and three of the same above. Both the doorway and the windows on all floors except the third have stone sills and jack arch lintels. The third floor is like the Savant Building next door, separated from the first two levels by means of a cut-stone string course which doubles as a sill for each of the eleven windows on that floor. The entablature of the building is of limestone and is plain while the cornice sports a copper gutter decorated every 12" with an acroterions.
KNOWLES BUILDING (Demolished 1992)
Standing in stark contrast to the west stands of Grant Field which rises behind it like a colossal stage backdrop, the Knowles Building with its simple form and detailing, is clearly typical of many of Georgia Tech's early buildings. Built originally as a long low two-story dormitory with full daylight basement that once overlooked Tech's athletic field on the far eastern extreme of the campus, the Knowles Building today appears much as it did in its heyday. A centrally located door, approached by means of a wide, shallow roofless porch is found in the center of the once symmetrical facade. Paired windows of the 2/2 variety stretch to either side of this doorway with the same arrangement (with window instead of a door) on the second floor. Two projecting "side wings contain each contain a door that opens onto the porch and two 2/2 windows on the front facade. The roof is hipped and covered with folded seam lead while all of the exterior walls are of red brick.
JOHN SAYLOR COON MECHANICAL ENGINEERING BUILDING
King and Walker, Architects 1911
Beaux-arts Renaissance Revival in style, the John Saylor Coon Mechanical Engineering Building, located at the corner of Ferst Drive and Cherry Street represents the first enlargement of the original nine acre campus of Georgia Tech. The building, built of red brick with decorative elements of terra-cotta, actually consists of two parts built in three phases over differing time spans. The first, the original Mechanical Engineering Building, built in 1911, is a three-story block that initially contained faculty offices and classrooms. The second portion of the facility is a long fourteen-bay, two story high wing that was added over the years 1919-1929 to house needed shops, laboratories and drafting rooms. The third part of the Mechanical Engineering Building is the Research Laboratory. Located behind the original block and subsequently added shop wing, this lab was erected to increase research space. All of the buildings are of red brick and have had extensive interior alterations.
top of page I local map | main map | index of Artery.org contents | index of web links | suggestions & comments | Fulton Co.National Register | de facto