BROWN UNIVERSITY

FRIEDMAN HALL

Friedman Hall is one of Brown University’s most heavily used undergraduate academic buildings, a late 19th century Romanesque structure that houses classrooms and meeting space. Goals for its renovation focused on larger capacity classrooms, common areas that supported student social activity, and making the building fully accessible. All work had to take place without disrupting the information technology hub that occupied the building’s basement level. In order to accommodate these competing needs, project design required inserting a non-rigid, lighter weight steel structure inside the existing masonry-and-wood-truss construction, making room for a fundamentally open interior design that leaves the lower level undisturbed and satisfies seismic requirements.  

PROJECT LOCATION
Brown University
Providence,
 RI

PROJECT SIZE 

24,200 SF

PROJECT TYPE

EducationAdaptive Re-use, Classrooms, Convening Space

CLIENT

Brown University

AW’s approach anchors the building more strongly in its landscape, actively engaging with its location at the center of College Green, emphasizing campus connections and activating use of exterior “rooms” on the building’s two most public sides.

The design allocates resources selectively, in order to maximize their impact. By uncovering a set of high windows concealed by previous renovations, natural light now floods the new spaces, energizing the interior. A perforated bronze screen at the building’s new North entry establishes a contemporary counterpart to the original entrance. The perforations reflect its elaborate stone carvings, and are visible differently by day, as sun filters into the building, and by night, as the piece becomes an illuminated beacon to campus.

Friedman Hall has become a celebrated front door to Brown’s campus and remains the highest occupancy classroom building on campus. It incorporates modern teaching technology and accommodates the University’s need for flexible academic and gathering spaces, transforming one of the least accessible buildings on campus to be fully accessible and welcoming to
all students.

PROJECT COLLABORATORS

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT
Reed Hilderbrand

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

Odeh Engineering

MEP, LIGHTING & ACOUSTIC CONSULTANT

Arup

CIVIL ENGINEER

Woodard & Curran

GEOTECHNICAL CONSULTANT
GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc.

CODE & FIRE PROTECTION CONSULTANT
Jensen Hughes 

ARCHITECTURAL STEEL FABRICATION

Whetstone Workshop

CONSTRUCTION

Shawmut Design & Construction

PHOTOGRAPHY

Florian Holzherr 

AW–ARCH

AWARCH

Anmahian Winton Architects

650 Cambridge Street

Cambridge, MA 02141

(617) 577-7400