Rather than tear down their aging science building, St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas decided to take a different approach to updating it. Knowing that the bones of the building, called Fleck Hall, were solid and sound, the university at the urging of Andersson-Wise Architects, decided to renovate the structure, add a number of sustainable strategies and improve the classrooms to bring them up to date. The original two-story building got a new glass curtain wall, an updated roof and a third floor addition to become the new home for classrooms, offices and the School of Education.
In 2006, St. Edward’s University completed the John Brooks Williams Natural Science Center and their faculty moved from Fleck Hall into the new facility. At the time, the plans were to demolish Fleck Hall and build a new facility for the School of Education. Architect Arthur Andersson considered the proposal and advised the university to take a different approach. He felt the building was worth saving because it was a lasting, adaptable structure built with a consistent concrete grid. He then proposed a revamp of the building that would add modern touches, sustainable technology and expand it with a third floor on the roof.
The structurally sound building was given a south facing glass curtain wall and a new glazed third floor to house conference rooms and an intimate, executive dining room for St. Edward’s fundraisers. The two existing floors were converted into state-of-the-art classrooms and faculty office spaces, and feature an experimental classroom, a gallery space for presentations, and a lounge area with computer work stations. Materials were also responsibly re-used, which cut down costs and the use of new resources, and the new curtain wall floods the space with daylighting. Reopened then in 2007, the new Fleck Hall features cutting-edge design that taps into the energy and spirit of the original architecture while using sustainable practices. Although not as striking or beautiful as some of the other campus buildings, the renovation comes out better than expected and makes the most of what was available.
Images ©Andersson-Wise Architects