Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Platner Hall

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Institution Name: Whittier College
Original/Historic Place Name: Platner Residence Hall
Location on Campus: Founder's Hill Rd., one block south of Philadelphia St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1928original construction Unknown
1998renovation Jones, William Loyd
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: reinforced concrete
Roof: red tile
ca. 1928infirmary
ca. 1928-1970residence hall (women's)
ca. 1970-present (2007)other (staff kitchen and conference room)
ca. 1970-present (2007)administration (Office of International Programs)
ca. 1970-present (2007)library (Media Center, which holds more than 4,000 audiovisual materials as well as audiovisual equipment for the campus, screening rooms, and video production and digital editing facilities)
ca. 1970-present (2007)faculty offices

Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Platner Hall, a Mediterranean-style structure of reinforced concrete on concrete foundations, was constructed in 1928 to serve as a women's dormitory. It was built under a retirement annuity arrangement with David H. and Jennie M. Platner, who donated $56,000 to build the residence hall in exchange for a lifetime annuity of $300 per month. Platner Residence Hall served in that capacity until the 1970s, when it was renovated for faculty offices.

It currently serves as the headquarters of the Media Center, which provides audiovisual equipment for the campus, and includes a large screening room, a video viewing room, and video production facilities, including digital editing stations. A darkroom for developing and printing photographs is in the basement, which includes a media storage area. The audiovisual collection housed in the Media Center spans the history of media since the 1960s, but the facility has not been upgraded to reflect the archival conditions suggested by Smithsonian Institution guidelines. For example, since it was built with a full basement- a rare feature in southern California- it is prone to flooding during the region's infrequent rainfalls.

A renovation completed in 1998 by architect William Loyd Jones of Venice, California, did not include replacement of the roof, which is currently in a leaky condition.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Arnold, Benjamin F. History of Whittier. Whittier, CA: Western Print Corporation, 1933.

Carter, Coila. "History of Whittier." B. A. thesis, Whittier College, 1908.

Cooper, Charles W. Whittier: Independent College in California. Los Angeles, CA: Ward Ritchie Press, 1967.

Cooper, Charles W. The A. Wardman Story. Whittier, CA: Whittier College, 1961.

Elliott, Charles, Jr. Whittier College: The First Century on the Poet Campus, a Pictorial Remembrance. Redondo Beach, CA: Legends Press, 1986.

Feeler, William Henry. History of Whittier College. M. A. thesis, University of Southern California, 1919.

Harris, Herbert Eugene. The Quaker and the West: The First Sixty Years of Whittier College. [s.l.:] Whittier College, 1948.

Pearce, Phyllis M., Claire G. Radford, and Mary Ann Rummel. Founders and Friends. Whittier, CA: Rio Hondo College Community Services, 1977.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Facilities Management Office

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