A renovation project that aims to restore an iconic
Homewood building to its former grandeur and bring it
squarely into the 21st century is one step closer to
On Sept. 19, the board of trustees' Building and
Grounds Committee authorized the formation of a Design
Review Committee to select an architect and construction
manager for the long-anticipated renovation of Gilman Hall.
Overdue for general maintenance and the replacement of many
of its internal systems, the 90-year-old building is now on
tap for a significant interior renovation that will upgrade
existing rooms, create additional usable space for students
to congregate and study, celebrate and preserve its
architectural treasures, and render it more suitable for
continued use as a teaching and research facility.
Design work, which includes space planning,
programming and the development of a phasing plan, is
anticipated to begin at the end of the calendar year.
Opened in 1915, Gilman Hall was the first major
academic building constructed after the university moved
from downtown to the Homewood campus. With five floors, it
contains roughly 110,000 square feet of interior space and
features a signature bell tower. The building's architects
drew their inspiration from Homewood House and thus began
the tradition, which continues today, of classically
influenced academic buildings on campus.
Named for the university's first president, Daniel
Coit Gilman, Gilman Hall for many years was the campus's
central academic building, containing classrooms, seminar
rooms, offices and libraries for all the humanities and
social sciences departments. Today, Gilman Hall still
houses most of the humanities departments for the Zanvyl
Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Adam Falk, interim dean of the Krieger School and a
member of the project's Design Review Committee, said that
the time has come to restore Gilman's somewhat faded glory
and maximize its potential.
"Gilman Hall is the architectural and intellectual
heart of the Krieger School," Falk said. "It is a building
that ought to be worthy of the terrific work that is done
The school, he said, needs additional space to
adequately house the humanities departments, their students
and classrooms, and the planned changes will allow an
expansion of program space.
Falk said that his personal vision for the project is
not to make a grand architectural statement but rather to
make the building more functional and transform what it
means to teach, study and work there.
Proposed modifications include recapturing underused
areas and the reconfiguration of some spaces to create new
seminar rooms, classrooms, offices and study areas that are
on par with those in Hodson Hall, the now three-year-old
Homewood academic building that features a multitude of
state-of-the-art, multimedia-friendly rooms and lecture
Other changes include the installation of new
elevators; enhanced lighting; accessibility modifications;
modernization of heating and air-conditioning systems; the
replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems;
and the exterior refurbishment of windows, doors, gutters,
downspouts and masonry.
Gilman's exterior will be largely untouched, as will
the Albert D. Hutzler Reading Room, which contains 19
stained glass windows bearing the names and seals of
15th-century European printers, and the distinguished
faculty offices that ring the building.
"This is an historical building," Falk said, "and we
want to preserve all that is wonderful with it."
Various incremental renovations have been done to
Gilman over time. The last, in 1985-86, was mostly
Falk said that the planned renovation will be done in
phases to minimize disruption to the academic schedule.
Safety improvements, installation of new core systems
(elevators, restrooms, etc.) and the renovation of the
majority of the ground floor to house the departments of
Near Eastern Studies, Classics and History of Art, and an
archaeology museum will be done first.
The ground floor currently houses two bank branches
(M&T Bank and the Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union), a
U.S. Post Office branch and the campus bookstore. An
expanded bookstore will be the retail anchor of Charles
Commons, the university-owned mixed-use complex that is
scheduled for completion by summer 2006. Planning is under
way for the relocation of the other retail services.
In addition, the existing Milton S. Eisenhower Library
stacks located in the heart of Gilman will be removed with
the resulting space used for programs.
The entire renovation is estimated to cost
approximately $35 million. Gifts to fund phase 1 have
already been secured, and additional fund raising is under
University facilities staff recently sent out a
request for proposals, and once an architect and
construction manager for pre-construction services are
chosen, detailed programming of the spaces will begin.