Urban Campus

Browse Exhibits (13 total)

_The University of Richmond's Postwar Campus


The increase in student population and changing curriculum affected the campus at the University of Richmond in much the same way as they did at institutions across the United States after World War II and one generation later in the late 1960s. The firm of Carneal and Johnston (William Leigh Carneal Jr. (1881–1958) and James Markam Ambler Johnston (1885–1974)), one of the most successful architecture firms in Richmond, carried the baton from Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson and continued the traditional Collegiate Gothic building up to the design of the Robins Center in 1970 when Modernism peeked through. Images of other Carneal and Johnston designs can be found here

The period following World War II saw a change in the demographics of the student body with increasing numbers of students and more students coming from afar who needed housing. Changes in the undergraduate curriculum and the move of the law school to the campus required new permanent buildings as the temporary military barracks used as housing, offices, and classrooms could not be used indefinitely.  As early as 1944 the university was making plans for expanding its built environment according to a series of Collegian articles authored by Ted Eggleston in the fall of that year.

This semester we have been looking at campus planning manuals dating to 1929, 1933, and 1966.  These texts, two of which were commissioned by the Association of American Colleges to help aministrators guide the development of their campuses, provide a backdrop against which to compare the planning and building of the University of Richmond campus.  These texts are:

  • Charles Z. Klauder & Herbert Wise, College Architecture in America, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1929.  
  • Jens Fredrick Larson & Archie MacInnes Palmer, Architectural Planning of the American College, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933.  
  • Richard Dober, Campus Planning, New York: Reinhold Book Corporation, 1963.

What follows are just small portions of what the students have found in their primary research and information they have gathered in what, for some, will have been their first experiences with primary research.  We owe a great deal of thanks to Fred Anderson and Darlene Herod at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society and Andrew McBride and Chuck Rogers in University Facilities for their time and insight.  We must also give a nod to our starting point the UR History Architecture page and John Alley's History of the University of Richmond, 1830-1971, which provided everyone with a starting point.

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Architects on Campus


The architects responsible for the development of both Temple's and Drexel's campuses came from Phildelphia and further afield.  Some are very well known internationally, while others worked primarily for the General State Authority designing very "functional" structures.  As you walk around each campus you see the hand of the architect, the vision of the institution, and the funding sources in each structure if you look hard enough. In particular you can see the shift from early institutioanlly funded strucutres just post-war, to those funded by the state in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Certain design features were more easliy funded than others.  Ever wonder why there was so much built-in furniture?


Drexel University - University City


The architectural history of the Drexel University campus is complicated by its location between the University of Pennsylvania and the neighborhood of Powelton Village in West Philadelphia. 

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Franklin Street Gym


A history of the Franklin Street Gym from the time it was built to plans for the future.  Exhibit includes a brief history of RPI gyms prior to the Franklin Street Gym and the Cary Street gym.

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From Electric Trolley Cars to VCU Art Studios: "The Depot" is Transformed


In his article, Depot Delight, Edwin Slipek calls The Depot "a gem of a building…a triumphal Roman arch glistening in the daylight."  But this has not always been the case.  Once a lively station for electric trolley passengers to embark or disembark traveling on their journey between Richmond and Ashland, Virginia, this structure was left uninhabited, standing in disrepair for several years.   In 2013, the Virginia Commonwealth University started renovations that would transform this once neglected historical site into a building, alive again with student passengers making their way towards new destinations in the world of art.  Its renovated interior is now filled with art classes, dance / art studios, and art exhibit space.  The Depot is perfectly located as the connection between two other VCU art buildings: art studio building located at Broad and Shafer, and the Institute for Contemporary Art currently being built at the southwest corner of Broad and Belvidere.

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Grace Street and the Grace Street Residence Centers North and South


A short history of the 800 and 900 blocks of West Grace Street culminating with the building of the Virginia Commonwealth University West Grace Street Residence Centers. 

How the 800 and 900 blocks of West Grace Street transitioned during the span of 1970-2015, what was there before VCU and how VCU has changed the landscape of the area. 

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Negotiating Adjacencies


A history of VCU's relationships with bordering neighborhoods Oregon Hill and Carver.

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Resistance to Expansion in Philadelphia


The expansion of the Temple and Drexel campuses faced resistance from the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Stories of community resistance dominated several issues of the Philadelphia Free Press (formerly the Temple Free Press).  Though several articles appeared in the more mainstream newspapers such as the Bulletin and the Inquirer, the Free Press's narrative style set up a clear dichotomy between the instituion and the neighbors fighting it off.

Rhoads Hall Dormitory at VCU


Rhoads Hall, dedicated in May of 1968 was a symbol of the new Virginia Commonwealth University. It was VCU's first "on purpose" dormitory, a high-rise that accomodates 700 students and contains 18 floors. Rhoads Hall is conveniently located by Monroe Park giving students close access to the Cabell library and the student commons.

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Temple University - Main Campus (Broad Streeet)


The architectural history of the Temple University campus parallels that of many urban campuses in the United States.  Born out of a need to educate working class residents of the City of Philadelphia, Temple University became a model for other institutions expanding in the post-war period.  The design work of Nolen & Swinburne was noted in Architectural Record and designated for awards by national building groups in the 1960s.  This exhibit will span the whole of Temple's history, but focuses on the rapid development that came in the postwar period and along with it, the conflict that arose with the residential neighbors near the campus.

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