Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Academic Quad

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Institution Name: Birmingham-Southern College
Original/Historic Place Name: Owen Quadrangle
Location on Campus: hilltop at center of college
Date(s) of Construction:
1923-1999original construction Miller & Martin
Designer: Miller & Martin
Type of Place: Building group
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1923-present (2006)master plan (campus)

On the crest of Red Mountain along the Flint Ridge west of Birmingham, the Birmingham-Southern College Academic Quad presents a standard scene: a grassy rectangle crossed by sidewalks, surrounded by neoclassical academic buildings, with a bell tower at its center--the whole aiming to display the symmetry and balance of a liberal arts education. Since shortly after the College's founding in 1918 (by the symbolic merging of Southern University and Birmingham College), the Academic Quad has remained the physical center of the campus. The historic and visual focus is Munger Hall (1928), which, Janus-faced, looks south towards Jones Valley and north towards the quad. Here the faculty processes at Convocation and Honor's Day bedecked in colorful regalia. Here students scurry to class. And from here come the bells that sound each hour. The Academic Quad remains in excellent physical shape.


Nelson, Linda, and Michelle Crunk. Birmingham-Southern College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1999.

Parks, Joseph Howard, and Oliver C. Weaver. Birmingham-Southern College, 1856-1956. Nashville, TN: Parthenon Press, 1957.

Stayer, Samuel N., and Robert G. Corley. View from the Hilltop: The First 125 years of Birmingham-Southern College. Birmingham: Birmingham-Southern College, 1981.


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Last update: November 2006