Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Kilian Hall

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Institution Name: Concordia University at Austin
Original/Historic Place Name: Kilian Hall
Location on Campus: center of main campus, 3400 I H 35 North
Date(s) of Construction:
1926original construction Smith, Harvey P.
Designer: Harvey P. Smith
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Beaux-Arts classicism, Regionalist/Vernacular, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick veneer over hollow tile
Roof: mission tile over steel roof trusses
ca. 1926residence hall
ca. 1926dining hall
ca. 1926chapel
ca. 1926library
ca. 1926classrooms
ca. 1926old main (first unit for college)
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration (offices)

Kilian Hall was Concordia University's first building. It contained classrooms, a library, a chapel, kitchen and dining facilities on the first floor, and sleeping and study accommodations on the second floor. The study/sleeping rooms contained built-in beds and wash basins with hot and cold water. The built-in beds were a novelty for dormitories at that time the building was erected in 1926 (Austin American-Statesman, June 27, 1926, 1-7).

The building was built to be as fireproof as possible, with reinforced concrete pillars and floors, hollow tile walls, a brick veneer exterior, metal windows, steel roof trusses, and mission tile for the roof. The main entrance has ornamental stonework with various religious symbols and is patterned after Spanish mission architecture. For its design of the building, the architectural firm of Harvey P. Smith and Arthur Fehr of San Antonio was credited with the second best architectural performance of the year by the Architects Guild of Texas (See Henry Studtmann, Concordia of Texas From the Beginning [Austin, TX., Concordia Lutheran College, n.d.], 37).

The building is historically significant to the university because it was our first building and the beginning of what is now Concordia University at Austin. It also represents a long struggle by the Missouri synod to establish an institution of higher learning in the south or southwest in various locations between 1868 and 1926.


Austin American-Statesman, June 27, 1926, 1-7.

Studtmann, Henry, and Ray Martens. Concordia of Texas From the Beginning. Austin, TX: Concordia College of Texas, n.d.

Wahlers, Mark Edward. "A Cloud of Witnesses: The History of Concordia Lutheran College of Texas." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1989.


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Last update: November 2006