Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Making It Modern

Academics

Modernist Structures on Lower Campus

Lower Campus with Clark Hall Under Construction. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 20.5 x 25 cm. ca. 1959.The construction of Meneely Hall, Watson Fine Arts Center, and Chase Dining Hall shifted some campus activity to the newly designed Lower Campus. Chase Round was built in 1959 to accommodate Wheaton’s growing student population, particularly students living in the new Lower Campus residence halls. These dormitories include Young, McIntire, and Clark Halls, each designed in a similarly Modern style. With its flat roof, circular exterior of ribbon windows, and exposed building materials, Chase was distinctly Modern. Although difficult for current students to imagine, the dining hall was an exciting new addition to the campus and many students claimed that food tasted better at Chase because of the building’s fresh and modern design.

-Shannon Ryan, Class of 2010

Architectural Model of Young Hall. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 20 x 25 cm. ca 1956.President Meneely Pointing to Architectural Drawing of Young Hall. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. ca 1956.

The photograph to the left depicts a model of Young Hall reveals numerous elements key to International Style design. These include the use of ribbon windows, glass panels, flat roofs and unadorned supports. When designing what students today refer to as YMCA, architect Howard L. Rich of Rich & Tucker Associates developed a grouped building plan, which allowed for Young, McIntire, and Clark Halls to be built one at a time without damaging the overall effectiveness of the group. His design also made efficient use of and preserved the natural landscape and allowed for flexibility in the construction schedule based on the availability of college resources.To the right, President Meneely points to an architectural drawing of the structure.

-Nancy Milka, Arts Faculty Assistant/Non-Traditional Student

Chase Round with Roof Reflected on Water. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 21 x 26.5 cm. ca 1959.Chase Round with Chandeliers Visible. Unidentified Phtographer. Photograph. 21.5 x 25.6 cm. ca 1959.

Chase Dining Hall's round shape distinguished it not only from the college's traditional architecture but also from the new Modernist buildings being constructed on campus at the time. Additionally, the unique shape and International Style ribbon windows provided students with an expanded view of Peacock Pond while they dined.

-Shannon Ryan, Class of 2010

Lower Campus with Clark Hall Under Construction. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 20.5 x 25 cm. ca. 1959.Taken during the construction of Clark Hall, this aerial view of Lower Campus provides a different perspective to what was then referred to as the “New Campus.” This complex of International Style buildings was erected between 1957 and 1964, changing the face of the campus and the town of Norton, and solidifying Wheaton’s commitment to Modern architecture.

-Evan Morse, Class of 2009

Meadows Hall Across Peacock Pond. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 18.5 x 23.5 cm. 1976.Built in 1964, Meadows is the largest International Style dormitory at Wheaton. The complex showcases the Brutalist variant of Modernism (also seen in Watson Fine Arts Center) with its heavy balconies, poured concrete supports, and rough brick. As with many International Style buildings, functionality was essential to the design. The three wings of the building meet in a central two-story common space for students. The unusual roof of this common space features a pattern of alternating triangles. This design is unique to Wheaton's campus; no other roof such as this is known to exist.

-Kendra Lawrence, Class of 2009

Aerial View of Lower Campus: Chapman Campus. Unidentified Photographer. Photograph. 20 x 25 cm. 1964.This picturesque aerial view captures the varied architectural styles on Wheaton’s campus. Open fields and traditional New England farmhouses, including the Presidents’ House (1829), Hollyhock House (1935), and the houses to the north of East Main Street, are juxtaposed to the International Style buildings that can be seen in what is now Lower Campus. The Chapman Campus, dedicated in 1977 to Richard P. Chapman, includes all of Lower Campus. Mr. Chapman was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1939 to 1970, and its Chairman from 1947 to 1964. During this period, numerous buildings were constructed at Wheaton, including all of the structures east of Peacock Pond.

-Nancy Milka, Arts Faculty Assistant/Non-Traditional Student

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