Vanderbilt University, Alumni Hall Renovation and Addition

Nashville, Tennessee

Increased student engagement at Vanderbilt created the need for additional dedicated 24/7 meeting and study space. The key planning premise for Alumni Hall was that the building would become a microcosm of a full-service student center and act as a satellite center to the existing two major student centers on campus.


The significant ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$383.33FEATURED IN2014 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation support many activities, such as tutoring, dining, studying and socializing, while maintaining the building’s historic architecture. Expanded terraces, classrooms, music lounge, exercise room, writing center, faculty offices and a boutique café are part of the new program.


Most of the building’s spaces serve dual functions, converting from study/social spaces to specific program spaces for scheduled events.


While revitalizing usage of the building was key, much of the renovated building’s charm is in the details and materials. Preserving those materials while upgrading systems and technology was a challenge. For example, modern lighting and materials were chosen to invigorate the Tudor aesthetic for students, yet complement the tone and character of the original building. The architects restored the exteriors and interiors to revitalize the building while retaining original details, such as the rich material palette of copper, limestone and brick, and ornate decorative plaster and wood-beamed ceilings.


Two new terrace additions create outdoor seating space and connect to a major campus quad and lawn; provide below-grade space to house mechanical, electrical, communications, and storage; and keep the building exterior largely untouched by modern technology.


The Alumni Hall renovation is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification (pending). Among the many strategies employed in the design, perhaps the most important is that the building is being reused in lieu of being torn down and rebuilt.