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Administration Building (Canfield)

Vital Statistics






Westcott and Bowen



Also Known As:

Canfield Administration Building; Administration Annex

During the 1950s the city campus experienced a building boom fueled by 1947 legislation that created the State Building Levy. It provided much needed funding for the University's physical plant, largely ignored throughout the depression and war years. Buildings constructed during this era are classic mid-century structures, with limited ornamentation, horizontal forms, flat roofs, and casement style windows. The new Administration Building, completed in 1958 and now known as Canfield Hall, is typical of its time.

In 1954 the Board of Regents hired Hazen and Robinson to prepare complete plans for the Administration Annex, as it was called during the planning phase. More than a year earlier, the Board's Building Committee had undertaken a needs assessment for the project, chaired by Linus Burr Smith, Chair of the Architecture program. The Committee recommended the location of the building, and attaching it to the Teachers College "in the neighborhood of the large stairway on the south side". In a memo to the Board of Regents in May 1953 Smith wrote "This Administration Annex will face 14th street with an ample planting area between it and the street, and will exactly balance the south "L" of Social Science Building"...."the objective of this structure is to eliminate most of the temporary structures on the campus; as well as to absorb the Administration Units which are occupying rental space". Smith developed the plans and preliminary drawings that were then turned over to the architects after a campus wide review.

Flexibility was an important design objective. Moveable walls were part of the initial design, although when the project was completed they were somewhat more permanent, though not load bearing. Before the advent of online registration, it was important to move large numbers of students through the building as they came into contact with various offices for counseling, registration, and financial transactions. Prior to the construction of the new Administration Annex, students often were required to visit multiple sites to complete a transaction. Before 1958 administrative offices were housed in the old Administration Building, Ellen Smith Hall, a rented building on R street, a surplus army barracks, and Social Sciences Hall. The new building brought the various administrative functions together for the first time in decades.

The Administration Annex is constructed of red brick and limestone, like most pre-war University buildings, but the similarities end there. The east and west facades are marked by bands of simple windows in a limestone wall. The only decorative element is the entry area, clad in marble. What the building lacked in ornamentation, it made up for in its use of high quality materials, including terrazzo floors, marble, and tile. It bore no resemblance to its neighbor, Teachers College, with which it shares a stairwell. While this union provided one enlarged space, it eliminated the most interesting element in the Teachers College building design, the large, ornate window that extended the full height of the building and looked south to R street.

Source Information:
Univeristy Archives; Bd of Regents minutes, 1955-58.