McDaniel College, Academic Hall

Westminster, Maryland

Completing an academic quadrangle first conceived in Frederick Law Olmstead’s original campus master plan, Academic Hall required the design team to accommodate multiple departments and a variety of teaching, research and administrative needs within a limited footprint on a tight hillside site. The design creates customized floor plates for each floor and maintains ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$175.00FEATURED IN2006 Architectural Portfolio cohesive, formal exterior that sits comfortably in its historic setting.

Efficiently accommodating classrooms, seminar rooms, administrative spaces, student commons, counseling facilities, biopsychology research and teaching laboratories, the designers developed a unique footprint for each of the building’s four floors. For instance, the first floor uses an axial circulation layout flanked by classrooms and student commons spaces. The larger second floor accommodates a perimeter circulation system with offices to the exterior, and computer labs and support spaces in the core.

Academic Hall encourages intra-building communication, with classrooms accommodating “in the round” American Sign Language instruction for the deaf-education program and wide commons areas at key corridor junctions to facilitate ASL communication. Large exterior windows and glass-walled seminar rooms and classrooms disseminate light and views throughout the building. The enhanced visual interaction creates the sense of an integrated learning community, while providing views of the Catoctin Mountains.