Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
De Witt Student and Cultural Center

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Institution Name: Hope College
Original/Historic Place Name: De Witt Student and Cultural Center
Location on Campus: 141 E. 12th St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1971original construction Stade, Charles Edward
1982renovation
1996-1997renovation
Designer: Charles Edward Stade (Park Ridge, IL)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII, Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: poured cement
Walls: block with brick fascia
Roof: IRMA with EPDM membrane
 
Function:
ca. 1971-1985other (recreation facility with ballroom, bowling alley, games, pool tables)
ca. 1971-present (2006)theater (494 seat theater, also studio theater)
ca. 1971-present (2006)student union (student organization offices, college bookstore, café, student cultural facility)
ca. 1971-present (2006)academic department building (theater)
ca. 1982-present (2006)administration
 

Narrative:
The DeWitt Student and Cultural Center was dedicated in 1971. It was designed by architect Charles Stade of Park Ridge, Illinois and was paid for by students and a generous gift from Messrs. Jack and Dick DeWitt. Although the building was conceived as a student cultural facility, two events led to a shift in DeWitt's role. In 1980 Van Raalte Hall, the college's administration building, was destroyed by fire, and in 1982 the nearby Carnegie-Schouten Gymnasium was demolished. A renovation of DeWitt was undertaken by Alden B. Dow Associates, and the building was rededicated in 1983.

DeWitt is a center of campus cultural and social life. It houses the Hope theatre and the department of theatre, the student/faculty café ("The Kletz"), the college bookstore, and administrative offices. Artistically, DeWitt is significant in its ties to post-1960s architecture. It stresses juxtaposed geometric masses rather than the glass and steel planarities of the late International Style. Its sculptural character--evident as well in its classical coffers--suggests an impact, perhaps indirectly, by the Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn.
 

References:

Bruins, Elton J., and Larry J. Wagenaar. Campus Alive: A Walking Tour of Hope College. Holland, MI: Hope College, 1999.

Stegenga, Preston J. Anchor of Hope: The History of an American Denominational Institution, Hope College. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1954.

Wichers, Wynand. A Century of Hope: 1866-1966. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1966.

 

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Last update: November 2006