Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Wriston Art Center

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Institution Name: Lawrence University
Original/Historic Place Name: Wriston Art Center
Location on Campus: 613 E. College Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1987construction began; June 6, 1987 Centerbrook
1989construction completed; November 11, 1989
Designer: Centerbrook Architects & Planners (Essex, CT)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Postmodern (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: exterior: ceramic faced block and glass; interior: drywall paint
Roof: partial 60 mil rubber over metal pan, partial slate, and partial glass
1989-present (2006)faculty offices
1989-present (2006)classrooms
1989-present (2006)academic department building (art; includes foundry, gallery space, art storage, lithographing, photography laboratory, metal shops, reception and social rooms)

The Wriston Art Center, located on the Lawrence Green, was completed in 1989. It is named for the 10th Lawrence president, Henry M. Wriston. The building is architecturally innovative, built in a postmodern renaissance revival style by Jefferson B. Riley, a Lawrence graduate. It makes use of ceramic block and glass and is in significant contrast to the other, more traditional buildings on campus. The entrance to the south houses an amphitheater, with all seats facing the southern exposure of the building. Wriston contains studios, classrooms, galleries, an auditorium, and houses all art programs on campus.


Breunig, Charles. "A Great and Good Work": A History of Lawrence University, 1847-1964. Appleton, WI: Lawrence University Press, 1994.

Dober, Richard P. Campus Architecture: Building in the Groves of Academe. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 1996.

Nesmith, Lynn. "For Art's Sake: At the Crossroads of a University in Wisconsin, a Small Art Center Plays a Large Role in Campus Life." Architecture 79 (January 1990): 84-89.

Selected photographs. 1987-1989. Lawrence University Art Center, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI.


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