Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Alderwood Hall

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Mills College
Original/Historic Place Name: Ming Quong Home; College Hall
Location on Campus: 5000 MacArthur Blvd.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1925original construction Morgan, Julia
2004renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: cast-in-place concrete
Roof: clay tile
1925-1937other (orphanage)
1937-2004other (conference area)
1937-2004residence hall
1937-present (2007)other (graduate residence)
2004-present (2007)other (leased to Julia Morgan School for Girls)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Constructed in 1925, Alderwood Hall was designed by Julia Morgan, who was responsible for the other buildings on campus. Originally it was known as the Ming Quong Home, an orphanage for Chinese girls, and owned by the Presbyterian Board of Missions, New York City. The site itself was purchased and contributed to the college by an interested friend of the Mission and the late Captain Robert Dollar. From 1937, when Mills acquired the building, until 1960, it was known chiefly as the Graduate House. The name Alderwood Hall originated in June of that year when Mills opened it as an undergraduate residence. After the property's aquisition, Chinese graduate students at Mills designed the reflecting pond in the entrance courtyard. To the south is an open glade, which was built on the ground where Seminary Creek used to flow before it was forced underground into a culvert. Historic photos of this area called it the Alderwood Dell.

Loosely designed in Spanish eclectic style, Alderwood Hall also has distinctive Asian qualities that can be seen in the terra cotta tiles, stucco walls, and roofline. Alderwood Hall is a modified two-story building with a U-shaped plan. The wings that extend from the central volume of hte building create a sense of partial enclosure for the entrance courtyard. The wings are capped by a hipped, clay tile roof whereas as the central part of the building has a cross gable roof. Gracious casement windows with an Asian-inspired muntin design grace all elevations providing generous natural light throughout the building.

Alderwood Hall is positioned above grade in the landscape, and is surrounded by a stucco wall punctuated by decorative finials. Visitors approach the building by way of a grand staircase, and then visually are directed toward the free-standing stone portal that is decorated with urns and statuary.

In 2004, Alderwood Hall was leased to the Julia Morgan School for Girls and was renovated extensively to create classrooms, offices, a cafeteria, a library, and a multi-purpose room. The glade serves as a playing field for this school. The interior re-design was completed by Mitchell and Riera Architecture.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Landscape Heritage Master Plan. Getty Foundation Campus Heritage Initiative, forthcoming September 2007.

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

Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
One Dupont Circle, Ste. 320
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006