Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Lawrence Hall

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Institution Name: Williams College
Original/Historic Place Name: Lawrence Hall
Location on Campus: 15 Lawrence Hall Dr.
Date(s) of Construction:
1846original construction Tefft, Thomas
1890addition of wings
1981addition of WCMA
1983addition Moore, Charles Moore, Grover & Harper
1986addition Centerbrook
Designer: Thomas Tefft; Charles Moore of Moore, Grover & Harper; and Centerbrook
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Greek revival, Postmodern (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone and reinforced concrete
Walls: brick
Roof: wood
ca. 1846library
ca. 1983-present (2006)museum (Williams College Museum of Art)
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (art)

Lawrence Hall is associated with a number of important individuals in the history of the college. Amos Lawrence (1786-1852), a close friend of Williams president Mark Hopkins (1802-1887) and a wealthy Boston businessman, donated the funds for Williams College's first library building used exclusively as such. Lawrence and Hopkins contacted Charles Jewett, then librarian at Brown University, regarding a design for this building, and Thomas Tefft was hired as the building's architect.

Originally designed as a simple octagon in a restrained Classical Revival style, wings were added to Lawrence in 1890. Other renovations and additions followed, including additions to the rear of the building in the early twentieth century. The largest additions were made in two phases during the 1980s: Moore, Grover & Harper's in 1983 to house the Williams College Museum of Art, and Centerbrook's in 1986.

Speaking of Lawrence Hall, Whitney Stoddard, late professor of Art History at Williams, remarked: "This is, I think, a very special building. To my mind the atrium is the most interesting interior space on the Williams campus. In 1992, a few years after designing this complex, Charles Moore won the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects" (Reflections on the architecture of Williams College, p.154).


Gaines, Thomas A. The Campus as a Work of Art. New York: Praeger, 1991.

Lewis, R. Cragin, ed. Williams 1793-1993: A Pictorial History. Williamstown, MA: Williams College Bicentennial Commission, 1993.

Rudolph, Frederick. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956.

Rudolph, Frederick. Mark Hopkins and the Log: Williams College, 1836-1872. Reprint, with an appendix by the author, "Williams College 1793-1993: Three Eras, Three Cultures," Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 1996.

Stoddard, Whitney. Reflections on the Architecture of Williams College. Williamstown, MA: Williams College, 2001.


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