Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Arts Building

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Institution Name: St. Francis College
Original/Historic Place Name: Brooklyn Union Gas Company Headquarters
Location on Campus: 180 Remsen St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1914original construction Freeman, Frank
Designer: Frank Freeman
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: stone and concrete
ca. 1914-1962other (headquarters of Brooklyn Union Gas Company)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (instructional facility)
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration

The Arts Building of St. Francis College is one of several buildings in the downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights area designed and built by the well-known Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman. Constructed as the new headquarters for the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in 1914, the building retains its original classical facade, which reflected the organizational solidity and dignity Gas Company. It continues to serve in a similar capacity as the administrative hub for St. Francis College.

The conversion of this building into an academic facility represented an important event in the history of the Franciscan Brothers in the educational life of Brooklyn. The move to 180 Remsen Street represented a renewal of the Brothers' commitment to serving the academic needs of the local urban population at a time in the 1960's when many other urban educational institutions were either closing their doors or joining the flight to the suburbs.

The building itself is well maintained and although modernized in several respects, still retains almost all of the external architectural details envisioned by its designer.


White, Norval, and Elliot Willensky, eds. AIA Guide to New York City. Rev. ed. New York: MacMillan, 1978.


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Last update: November 2006