A transformation is in store for Gilman Hall, the historic building that for 92 years has served as the intellectual hub for the humanities at Homewood. This summer, work began on a three-year, $73 million renovation aimed at restoring the aging structure to its original glory as a national model for teaching and scholarship in the humanities.
The centerpiece of the renewal effort: the conversion of an interior light well into a three-story, glass-enclosed atrium.
"This will be the most dramatic and appealing space on the entire Home-wood campus and immediately become a focus for student and faculty life," says Adam Falk, James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School.
The atrium will include a new home for the thou---sands of ancient objects in the university's Archae-ological Collection-viewable through large, first-floor windows. The roof of the collection will serve as a second-floor bridge connecting Mem-orial Hall inside Gilman's front entrance to the "Hut" (the Hutzler Undergraduate Library) at the building's rear. The bridge, with its ubiquitous coffee bar and comfortable sofas and chairs, will quickly become a popular spot for socializing and informal study, Falk predicts.
Dedicated in 1915, Gilman Hall was built on a novel concept for its time: By grouping seminar rooms, faculty offices, and open library stacks, the four-story building gave scholars from each discipline easy access to all the sources they needed for their work.
But over the decades, as academic work has become more collaborative and cross-disciplinary, Gilman Hall's luster has dulled. Departments outgrew their space-some moved out of the building entirely-and collections of books were moved to a central library. A maze of a floor plan and a warren of eight stairwells-only half leading all the way from Gilman's lowest level to the top floor-inserted dead ends randomly. Students and faculty learned to live with the clanging of radiators in winter, and stifling hot classrooms no matter what the season.
With the removal of a bookstore, bank, and credit union from the ground floor, the space available for academic departments will grow from about 43,000 to about 55,000 gross square feet. Pooled classroom and seminar space will grow from about 8,000 feet to nearly 11,000. A dedicated film screening room will seat 140. The building's reconfigured interior will allow all 10 humanities departments in the Krieger School to reassemble once again.
The renovation will take place in two phases. This summer, a few occupants of fourth floor offices moved out, allowing for the dismantling of the old stacks in the core of the building. The building will remain occupied through the current academic year but then will close for two years. Reopening is scheduled for late summer of 2010.
Look for ongoing updates on the project's progress in future issues of Arts & Sciences Magazine.
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An artist's sketch show how first-floor visitors to the "new" Gilman Hall will be able to view ancient artifacts—and students at work—in the University's Archaelogical Collection.
Illustration by R.M. Kliment & Frances Halsband Architects