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Robertson Hall

Rhodes College reimagines science education on campus with a sustainable reimagining of Robertson Hall. 

In response to the evolving needs of its science program and the constraints of aging facilities, Rhodes College has creatively reimagined the future of science education on its campus. This renovation enhances the Computer Science Department by bringing together classrooms, seminar spaces, a virtual reality lab, and faculty offices to strengthen faculty-student interactions. The New Science Building, equipped with laboratories, classrooms, and distinctive study spaces for Chemistry and Biology, reaffirms Rhodes' dedication to academic excellence. Situated to complement the Paul Barret Jr. Library, it reshapes the Troutt Quad, marking a significant milestone in campus development.

Instead of a single, new facility, the plan emphasizes sustainability by optimizing existing spaces and minimizing new construction. This strategy, centered on energy efficiency and environmental initiatives, has notably transformed Robertson Hall, reducing its required space by 30 percent through smart renovations and efficient construction methods.

The design introduces transparency and daylight, a departure from the traditional Collegiate Gothic architecture of the campus. The integration of stone structures and glass elements creates a balanced composition, blending form and function. The gable forms, consistent with the historic campus aesthetic, house classrooms, labs, and research facilities. Meanwhile, the glass hyphens encourage connections and dialogue among students and faculty while providing abundant natural light.

The new three-story facility puts learning on display through a high degree of transparency, visually linking everyday campus activity with lab and classroom work to create a vibrant, light-filled environment.

The building's vertical arrangement—housing biology, chemistry, and general science areas—maximizes efficiency and organizational clarity. Additionally, Robertson Hall builds on the sense of a science community by linking to existing science buildings via an underground study commons, enhancing campus cohesion.

Robertson Hall enhances the campus's aesthetic and spatial dynamics. Its design complements adjacent structures and balances the visual impact of the library, contributing to the creation of a new academic quad. The building’s transparency not only offers extensive views into the quad from the east but also frames memorable campus vistas, enriching the daily experiences of students, and faculty.

“An architectural gem with extraordinary functional design, Robertson Hall will encourage future scientists and provide Rhodes faculty and students with a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and learning.” - Marjorie Hass, Rhodes College President

  • Award of Honor for Excellence in Architecture, AIA VA, 2019
  • Excellence Award, AIA HR, 2019
Project Team
Jane Cady Rathbone
Michael C. Beaver
Project Manager
Jean Webster
Project Architect
Erika Feggestad
MEP Engineering
Burr & Cole Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Civil and Structural Engineering
Research Facilities Design
Laboratory Consultant
The Office of James Burnett
Landscape Architect