Stager Hall, Franklin & Marshall



Stahr hall was a severe project in terms of its utilitas. It originally functioned as a science building. Fully equipped with labs, classrooms, and academic offices. The façade hid most of this to the outside world. The noted exceptions are the ventilation system and the façade itself as a symbol. The original building had 6 smoke stacks, which would have been utilized in the removal of hazardous gases. The façade functioned as a window of Franklin and Marshall College. The building was framed in a way to highlight the academics the college has to offer. The long pathway (utilizing expensive land in a trade off for the symbolism) draws parallels to Raphael’s School of Athens. The arch elements in the windows draw parallels to the Greek (founders of academia) arches. The building uses a division plan (the served and servant spaces are allocated through out the building.) The symmetrical building gives a palpable feeling of order.


I managed to procure a photo of the construction of the wings on Stahr Hall. The builders seemed to be utilizing reinforced concrete.  When one looks at the floor plan it is clear that the thick walls serve a structural purpose. The new stager has arches that do not serve a structural purpose, however the original C. Emlen Urban’s Stahr had giant windows that were supported by arch structures (and possibly support beams as well). Columns supported a concrete awning. Battered walls can be seen at the corners of the building. The building certainly utilized mostly a trebeated system. This formed the buildings harsh edges and boxed structures.


The original Stahr Hall was a beautiful building calling several different styles of architecture into its design. The building utilized a formal symmetrical plan. The roof (hip style) was a beautiful copper green that calls reference to the academic ivy’s. The Greco-roman influence can also be seen on the entranceway with the Corinthian columns. The building was truly artfully done. It is a sad sight to see the renovations that have masked its former beauty.


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