It’s not often that a building has not one, but three distinct and beautifully designed facades. Lucky for us, the 1926 Alumnae Hall at Pembroke College (now Brown University), fits the bill! Alumnae Hall on the Pembroke Campus was dedicated in October 1927 with funds for the building raised through the efforts of the Alumnae Association with Stephen O. Metcalf would duplicate all gifts of students and alumnae. The campaign continued until 1926, when the $50,000 contributed by the students and the $150,000 contributed by the alumnae, together with Mr. Metcalf’s matching funds, were deemed sufficient to start the building. The cornerstone was laid in May 1926 with the Boston architectural firm of Andrews, Jones, Biscoe and Whitmore as architects, who designed the building in the Colonial Revival style. Alumnae Hall, built of brick with limestone trim, was designed to accommodate the social and religious activities of the Women’s College. Its main entrance is a balustraded stone terrace on the campus leading to an auditorium on the main floor, the various sections create a visually stunning complex of wings and facades built into the landscape.
Pembroke Hall – Brown University // 1896
Brown University from its founding in 1764 until 1891 never admitted women. Brown’s all-male student body was first challenged in 1874, when the university received an application from a woman (who to this day is still unnamed). The Advisory and Executive committees decided that admitting women at the time was not a good proposal, but they continued to revisit the matter annually until 1888, when they began work to establish a separate women’s college affiliated with Brown. After similar institutions like Radcliffe (affiliated with Harvard) and Barnard College (affiliated with Columbia) were established in 1879 and 1889 respectively, Brown had a blueprint for how to operated the new women’s college. Professors at Brown would work alongside women educators and taught many of the the same courses to men as they did for female students. Pembroke Hall was the first building for Pembroke College and was built in 1896 from plans by local firm Stone, Carpenter and Willson in the Elizabethan Revival style. The building was designed to be multi-purpose with administrative offices, classrooms, reception rooms, and a library in the attic. Pembroke College was officially merged with Brown University in 1971, which was long overdue. The building is one of the finest on Brown’s now co-educational Ivy-league campus.
Samuel B. Wheaton House // 1850
Another Italianate mansion on Angell Street in Providence is the Samuel B. Wheaton House which is presently occupied by Brown University’s English Department. Samuel Burr Wheaton (1807-1863) was a merchant who also served as president of the Phenix Bank. The building is capped by a shallow hip roof which is not visible from the street and wide, overhanging eaves supported by brackets. The house is a Villa in plan as it features irregular massing and not a symmetrical form, just sans tower. The Wheaton House was acquired by Brown University who has since added onto the rear of the house for the English Department offices and classroom spaces. LLB Architects is credited with the contextually designed additions which utilizes lead-coated-copper clad connectors that are recessed between sensitively-scaled brick pavilions that preserve the integrity of the original house by letting it stand proud of the later additions.