Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Olin Hall of Science

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Institution Name: Carleton College
Original/Historic Place Name: Olin Hall of Science
Location on Campus: 215 Goodsell Circle
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1960-1961original construction Yamasaki, Minoru
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete
Walls: steel; glass; red brick
Roof: built-up asphalt
ca. 1961library (science reading room)
ca. 1961-present (2007)classrooms (and laboratories)
ca. 1961-present (2007)auditorium
ca. 1961-present (2007)academic department building (currently physics and psychology department offices)

Significance: architecture
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

In February 1959, the Olin Foundation announced a donation of $1.51 million to Carleton for a new science hall. Groundbreaking was held in May 1960, and the facility opened its doors in October 1961. Olin is one of five campus buildings designed by Minoru Yamasaki. The three-story red brick building is distinguished by an exterior arcaded screen of white, pre-cast concrete. At the dedication of the building in November 1961, Yamasaki remarked, "When you have academic standards and ideals as high as Carleton's, it is terribly difficult to try to meet them in a building--but it's been great fun trying."

With the onset of the new development campaign, the trustees of Carleton College decided that a new campus master plan was needed and determined to look further afield for an architect. Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986) visited the campus in November 1958 and was subsequently chosen by the committee headed by trustee John H. Myers. Yamasaki was charged with designing a master plan for the Carleton campus to incorporate planned new buildings in harmony with the existing structures as well as designing each new building to meet specific educational needs. He was also to plan landscaping for both existing and new buildings. At the time of his appointment, Yamasaki proclaimed "I believe that there is enough unity in the present plan of Carleton buildings that we should not have great problems. Carleton has a lovely site. We hope we can maintain its beauty and, if possible, improve somewhat on it."

I. Bibliographic sources:

"A Conversation with Yamasaki." Architectural Forum 111 (1959): 111-18.

Carleton College Database (2006). Carleton College Facilities, Management and Planning Office. Carleton College, Northfield, MN.

Dober, Richard P. Campus Architecture: Building in the Groves of Academe. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996.

Headley, Leal A., and Merrill E. Jarchow. Carleton: The First Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1966.

Inventory files: Olin Hall of Science, Carleton College. State Historic Preservation Office, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Carleton Moves Confidently Into Its Second Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1992.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Educator, Idealist, Humanitarian, Donald J. Cowling. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. In Search of Fulfillment: Episodes in the Life of D. Blake Steward. St. Paul, MN: North Central Publishing Company, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Private Liberal Arts Colleges in Minnesota: Their History and Contributions. Saint Paul, MN: Historical Society, 1973.

Jarchow, Merrill E., and David H. Porter. Carleton Remembered 1909-1986. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

Leonard, Delvan L. The History of Carleton College. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1904.

Pearson, Marjorie, and Charlene K. Roise, Carleton College Campus: An Historical Survey. Minneapolis, MN: Hess, Roise and Company, 2001.

Soth, Lauren. Architecture at Carleton: A Brief History and Guide. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

"Yamasaki Chosen Architect." The Voice of the Carleton Alumni 24 (January 1959): 23.

Yamasaki, Minoru. A Life in Architecture. New York: Weatherhill, 1979.

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

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