In recognition of the importance of preservation efforts, this periodic series features historic buildings on the UI campus.
Engineering Hall has been central to the academic and administrative activities of the College of Engineering since its construction in 1893. As a highly visible landmark awaiting its place on the Civil Engineering Historic Registry, the exterior of Engineering Hall remains virtually unchanged from the time of its construction. The first story is of tool-chiseled limestone; the upper stories are of buff pressed brick accented with terra cotta. No major interior changes have been made except for replacing the stairwells and installation of an elevator and sprinkler system. Many of the original architectural elements can still be found throughout the building -- including ceilings of paneled Washington fir and oak interiors as well as the Watt and Faraday mantles above matching fireplaces in the old ballroom.
In 1892, the university planning committee solicited architectural alumni to submit designs for the new building. First prize of $500 and the design contract was awarded to George Wallace Bullard, class of 1882, who completed his contest submittal in only nine days. Once called the Civil Engineering Hall (1949-1963), Engineering Hall originally housed instructional laboratories for civil and electrical engineering classes, physics laboratories, the Nathan C. Ricker Library, the departments of civil and municipal and sanitary studies; and the department of architecture.
Engineering Hall continues today as a visible symbol of the integrity and constancy of the entire engineering college. The continued use of the building has made renovation necessary to comply with new state and federal regulations and improve structural integrity. The renovation will also extend growth in student organizations and their activities from areas across the engineering campus into a central location.