Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Art Building

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Institution Name: Willamette University
Original/Historic Place Name: College of Medicine
Location on Campus: 900 State St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1905original construction Unknown
1975-1976renovation Unknown
2002-2003addition; studios, student gallery Soderstrom Architects
2002-2003renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: brick faced with concrete
Walls: brick; wood (entry columns, window frames, details)
Roof: composition shingle (current)
1905-1912academic department building (College of Medicine)
1912-1941academic department building (science)
1941-1976academic department building (College of Music; then later department of music)
1976-present (2007)academic department building (art and art history)
pre- 1998museum (top floor: Hallie Brown Ford Gallery)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Art Building was built in 1905 to serve first as the College of Medicine, which after being established in 1867 was the oldest such institution in Oregon. Built with funds donated by Salem citizens who wanted to encourage medical training in the capital city of Oregon, it was the second brick structure to be built on campus. After the College of Medicine relocated to Portland in 1912 until 1941, the building housed the science departments of the university. In 1941, these departments moved to the then newly constructed Collins Hall and became home to the College of Music (and later department of music). The Hallie Brown Ford Gallery occupied the top floor later developed into the university's Hallie Ford Museum of Art, established in a separate building in 1998. In the 1970s, the building was in such disrepair (its upper level was declared off limits by the fire marshal) that an extensive renovation was undertaken in 1975-1976. The art and art history department now currently resides in the building.

The Art Building is in excellent condition following another major project in 2002-2003 that stabilized the original building to withstand earthquakes and also created a new addition to house studios and a student gallery that complemented the original Beaux-Arts building on a smaller scale and in modern terms.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Gatke, Robert Moulton. Chronicles of Willamette, the Pioneer University of the West. Portland, OR: Binfords and Mort, 1943.

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

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Last update: November 2006