Contemporary Considerations, 1997-1999

Abbott Dining Hall

Rendering of Exterior Elevation by Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates, 1998

Abbott Dining Hall

Rendering of Exterior Elevation by Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates, 1998

Schematic of Proposed Renovation to Abbott Dining Hall

Schematic of Proposed Renovation to Abbott Dining Hall by Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates, 1998

        Abbott Dining Hall remained largely untouched after its 1984 updates.  By the late 1990s, however, expansion of the building was paramount.  Class sizes had steadily increased since Abbott’s inception in 1963 and the number of students and faculty using the facility for meals now violated the fire code.  Land for expansion, however, was scarce.  With Peabody & Stearns’ buildings and Olmsted’s asymmetrical Circle designated as a National Historic Landmark to the north, the McPherson dormitory to the east, and the establishment of the Clark Music Center (officially opened in 2000) to the south, the only available acreage was the hall’s patio to the southwest.  The architecture firm of Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates from Philadelphia was tasked with developing plans for Abbott’s expansion.  In addition to enlarging the dining hall’s floorplan by enclosing the patio, the firm was asked to maximize the use of natural light within the final design.  Electrical costs had skyrocketed by the end of the twentieth century and the School was seeking ways to minimize electric use.  Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates ultimately re-imagined the hall in a modern style that employed natural finishes similar to the Clark Music Building.  Although their schematics successfully addressed the challenges put before them, the project was tabled due to financial constraints.

Contemporary Considerations