Swalm Hall, School of Chemical Engineering, Mississippi State University

Starkville, MS

Project Description

JBHM was commissioned to design a “bookend” building to be placed on the opposite end of the historic drill field. The donor requested that the design “mirror” a landmark building designed in 1905 by E.L. Malvaney. The interior of the facility houses the new School of Chemical Engineering. Because of the
donor’s aesthetic requirements and the lack of existing drawings, JBHM painstakingly measured the existing building facilities and had to creatively place a year 2000 building program into a 1905, non-air conditioned building frame. In addition to detailed requirements, research into archival photographs changed the original design.

The decision was made to design the new building with the original details that had been lost from a 1947 fire. Then a renovation would restore the original building back to its original exterior detailing. The resulting work would provide the donor with the request of two “bookend” buildings on axis with each other and this would further provide an enclosure to the historic drill field. As one can imagine, everything from brick color and mortar joints were scrutinized to be true to the original. The interiors, however, are designed to be a completely modern chemical engineering facility with 17 laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices.

I stop and admire the Swalm Building every time I am near it ... Swalm did more to improve the quadrangle than anything. It made it.
Bryce Griffis, President MS Board of Trustees of State IHL