Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Harvey Ingham Science Hall and Fitch Hall

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Institution Name: Drake University
Original/Historic Place Name: Buildings for Science and Pharmacy
Location on Campus: north center of campus on 28th St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1947original construction Saarinen, Eero
Designer: Eero Saarinen
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: pre-cast pilings and spread footings
Walls: brick masonry, steel grid with glass and pre-fab spundrels
Roof: reinforced concrete slabs and joists; built up roof
1947-present (2006)classrooms
1947-present (2006)auditorium
1947-present (2006)academic department building (classrooms, laboratories, and auditorium for physics, chemistry, and pharmacy)

Constructed in 1947 and designed by the prestigious architect, Eero Saarinen, Harvey Ingham and Fitch Halls are an excellent example of Saarinen's planning talent.

The buildings, constructed of brick masonry and simple steel and glass grid, sit along Forest Avenue at the north end of campus. Situated at right angles of one another, the two buildings are connected by what was the first skywalk in the city of Des Moines. Because of the building's program and need for adaptable space, Saarinen designed a reinforced concrete curtain wall that would permit a wide range of interior spatial configurations.

In addition, Saarinen created the buildings' two auditoriums as one interlocked grouping or single mass. This allowed not only for reduced building cubage, but also for increased ease of circulation space. Saarinen also carefully planned the structure by accounting for the building's program requirements. By allotting for the building's Chemistry labs on the top floors and Physics classrooms on the ground level, the problems of ventilation and vibration issues were more easily resolved.


"A University Campus Plan Underway for Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, Saarinen, Swanson and Saarinen, Architects." Architectural Record 102 (December 1947): 71-87.


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Last update: November 2006