Saint Joseph College, Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities

West Hartford, Connecticut

  • FIRM

    Geddis Architects

  • CLIENT

    Saint Joseph College

  • AREA

    61,000 sq.ft.

  • TOTAL COST

    $13,000,000.00

  • COMPLETION DATE

    5/2001

This new, two-building center for the arts and humanities completes the south lawn of this 70-year-old campus. The college, distinguished in sciences, has created a new focus in the humanities and the performing arts.

The first building is the auditorium building, which is the center for the arts. It features a new auditorium/theater, an art museum, the art and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$213.00FEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio departments and college archives. The two-story lobby marks the entrance to the auditorium/theater and art museum. On the second floor is a tiered classroom for art lectures and a multiuse reception hall. The gallery, lobby and student bistro were built to support community activities.

The auditorium/theater was specifically designed in a horseshoe shape to create an intimate ambience for 400 people.

The original master plan of 1932, discovered in the college archives, was pivotal in convincing the college that its long-maintained great lawn was expected to support student activities and pivotal department centers. Visitor entry to the campus, pedestrian circulation, as well as commuter student entrance to the campus, is profoundly altered with this new focal point near the campus’ front gate.

The architecture echoes the Georgian architecture of the campus’ original 1932 buildings, with multi-toned brick, limestone watercourses, quoins and slate roofs. It also reflects the college’s strong desire to use these two new buildings to announce changes in the college’s curriculum and vision.

The classroom building, the center for the humanities, offers four instructional clusters, along with faculty offices, to form departmental centers. The classrooms, of three types, allow for many different teaching styles and settings.

The ground floor of the humanities classroom features an interior garden and an 11th-century statue that previously stood outdoors. This garden lounge faces a new student patio and series of walkways to new parking lots. It is this vantage point of the humanities building that faces the town.

At the center of each floor is a place for gathering and study. The upper floor offers an informal study hall at the crossing in the corridors, where students have two vistas, one to the campus, and the other to the town. The four department centers each offer public spaces for students.