Dunham Hall, a 45,000 SF administration, classroom, and exhibition building, closes the final corner of Aurora University's twenty-acre campus quadrangle. Dunham Hall is designed as a "gateway" to that corner of the campus.
A two-story atrium within the building opens toward the "quad". This includes a central gallery and exhibition area that provides an assembly and social area for group or informal gatherings. Dunham Hall is constructed of load-bearing masonry and is detailed with a traditional palette of iron-spot brick, cast-stone banding, red tile roofing, and copper accents. Masonry arches spring from the corners of the structure to emphasize the passageways through the building to the University's main quadrangle. These arches and the building's massing reinforce its quadripartite organization. At a smaller scale, this organization is further defined by such detail elements as wall sconces, masonry reveals, and ornamental cast-stone capitals.
Now more than three decades old, Dunham was our first project at Aurora University. In it, we explored architectural authenticity: True tiled pitched roofs instead of the mansards with pitched roofs that other campus buildings were using; true load-bearing masonry with copper accents; while respecting the University's budget. Bringing the campus new architectural "gravitas," the building features references to Richardsonian Romanesque merging with Prairie Style architecture. This building reminds us of Alvar Aalto's comment, perhaps especially true for Universities, "It is not what a building looks like on the day it opens but what it is like thirty years later that matters."