Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Durand Institute

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Institution Name: Lake Forest College
Original/Historic Place Name: Henry C. Durand Art Institute
Location on Campus: North Campus
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1895original construction Cobb, Henry Ives
1980-1981remodeled Noonan, Edward
Designer: Henry Ives Cobb; Edward Noonan
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: Lake Superior red limestone
ca. 1890other (studios, replicas of class sculpture)
ca. 1890other (university arts center, shared with community, the Art Institute Club of Lake Forest)
ca. 1890library
ca. 1890auditorium (with semi-circular proscenium arch for the raised stage)
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (art and philosophy; art studios include drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, and print; also contains a darkroom, galleries, and a slide library)

Architecturally, the Durand Institute is according to Thomas Schlereth a stunning example of Richardsonian Romanesque. Designed by Henry Ives Cobb, it was built at the time Cobb also was designing the first buildings for the University of Chicago and the Newberry Library in Chicago. He reported that it was modeled on Richardson's Billings Library at the University of Vermont from the mid 1880s. The auditorium reflects the influence of Adler and Sullivan's Auditorium of 1889 in Chicago. The building was remodeled in 1980-1981 under the direction of Chicago architect Edward Noonan.

The Lake Forest Art Institute club auditorium housed many speakers, including William LeBaron Jenney on the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. In 1903, the Garrick Players were founded by alumnus and faculty member William Mather Lewis ('00), later president of Lafayette College in Easton, PA. This student theater group is the oldest in Illinois and in the teens played a role in the Chicago little theater scene (hosting the premier of Back of the Yards by Kenneth Sawyer Goodman; playing in surrounding suburbs; the actors participating in the Aldis estate little theater, with its ties to Maurice Browne's Chicago Little Theatre). Richard Widmark ('36) was a star performer and later faculty member before pursuing his professional acting career. The Hull House Players performed a play for the Aldises here in 1911.


Coventry, Kim, Daniel Meyer, and Arthur H. Miller. Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest: Architecture and Landscape Architecture, 1856-1940. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

Lake Forest Historic District [including Lake Forest College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

Schulze, Franz, Rosemary Cowler, and Arthur H. Miller. 30 Miles North: A History of Lake Forest College, Its Town and Its City of Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.


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