Longwood University, Ruffner Hall

Farmville, Virginia

On April 24, 2001, Longwood University’s most beloved building, constructed in 1884, burned to the ground while under renovation.

The university wanted the building to be rebuilt to its former splendor, so it reconstructed Ruffner Hall to closely match the historic scale and details. The old wood-frame structure was replaced with a concrete and steel-frame structure ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMADTEK Engineers, Inc.; Potomac Energy Group, Inc.COST PER SQ FT$181.00CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2006 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation provide additional fire resistance. The central rotunda space closely matches the historical details while incorporating state-of-the-art mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire-protection systems. Interior wood and plaster profiles have been replicated to maintain the scale and character of the spaces.

Prior to the fire, significant pieces of memorabilia, including the original canvas paintings that had been on the rotunda dome, had been removed for restoration. These mural paintings have been restored and incorporated in the new dome.

The Jeffersonian-style building houses four academic departments, along with the offices for the vice president for academic affairs and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A central rotunda space is the celebrated flagship space on campus, flanked by building wings housing 22 classrooms and 91 faculty and administrative offices.

The office and classroom wings blend into the historic fabric while providing spaces that support university programs. The building also provides connection to several other buildings on campus, including residence halls and the university bookstore.

A new gallery space replaces the original informal lounge separating the existing buildings. The gallery incorporates a columned pedestrian space designed to duplicate the feel of the existing exterior colonnade. This gallery space is covered with a skylight to enhance the ties to the related portico spaces.

“A beautiful combination of colonial common areas and modern classrooms.

The commitment to an appropriate and historically accurate renovation is evident.”--2006 jury