Battle Hall Centennial Celebration

On Friday, November 11, Battle Hall marked the 100th anniversary of its completion with a lecture by Professor Larry Speck, followed by celebrations that included self-guided tours of the building, a reception, exhibit opening, and remarks by Vice Provost and Director of UT Libraries Fred Heath, Dean Fritz Steiner, Professor Richard Cleary, and Architecture and Planning Librarian Beth Dodd.

Speck said that “architecture has become too reliant on imagery, forgetting its roots in the visceral and corporal experience of a building” and urged students and staff not to view Battle Hall as just a building, but rather as an experience that changes lives.View coverage of Larry Speck’s talkin the November 13 edition of The Daily Texan and further coverage of Battle's centennial in The Alcalde online.

Many students, faculty, alumni, and other interested guests who had been impacted by the building returned to Battle Hall on Friday evening to celebrate its centennial. Among the reception highlights was a cake shaped in the likeness of the building.

Battle Hall Cake
Battle Hall 100th Birthday

The exhibit, "Our Landmark Library: Battle Hall at 100", will be on view in the Architecture and Planning Library Reading Room, Battle Hall, through spring 2012. Exhibit highlights include design drawings, construction photos, timeline, correspondence, previously unavailable images, and stories of the significant people in Battle Hall's history. The exhibit, with expanded narrative and images, is also available online.

Designed by newly appointed university architectCass Gilbert in 1910, Battle Hall was completed in 1911 for about $280,000. Beyond serving as the university's first independent library building (later known as "the Old Library"), it was also the first home to the new College of Fine Arts (1938) and later to the new Barker Texas History Center (1950), bringing together for the first time the University Library's archives and rare books collections. In 1973, when the Barker Center vacated the building, it became home to the Architecture Library and was renamed for former university president Professor William J. Battle.

submitted by Beth Dodd

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