Funding sought for Hendrie Hall renovation

No caption. Photo by Amir Sharif.

As the UPS substation in Hendrie Hall was closing its doors after dusk Wednesday, the fluorescent lights of the building flickered against the peeling paint of the walls and the rusting metal of doors.

The 114-year-old building, which primarily houses the School of Music, has been set for renovation for at least a year. Before the economic crisis, the University contracted the Toronto-based architecture firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects to design renovations and a four-story addition. The renovation was slated to begin this year, but it was halted by the Universitywide freeze on new construction announced last December.

Renovations of Hendrie Hall cannot begin until enough gift funding is secured.
Renovations of Hendrie Hall cannot begin until enough gift funding is secured.
No caption.
No caption.

University Planner Laura Cruickshank said the date for groundbreaking has yet to be determined, and construction will not begin until more donations are secured.

And securing donations for the project is a priority, School of Music Dean Robert Blocker said.

“We, like everyone else at the University right now, are trying to address the issue of funding,” he said. “Most of the planning is done. But I want to do everything I can to secure the funding.”

The University is targeting School of Music graduates and alumni who have expressed interest in supporting the arts at Yale, Vice President for Development Inge Reichenbach explained.

A major focus of the renovation and extension project will be the addition of a student lounge, 28 new practice spaces and a fully equipped practice room for the Yale Symphony Orchestra and the Yale Philharmonia. Plans posted on the KPMB Architects Web site show that the renovation will also feature new spaces for the percussion and brass programs.

Three music students interviewed said the current practice facilities in Hendrie are inadequate.

“It’s kind of an old building, so it would be great if it got renovated,” Elizabeth Upton MUS ’11 said as she left the building on her way to rehearsal. “No one wants to practice in Hendrie.”

The four-story extension to Hendrie Hall will be built on the space behind the building, currently a parking lot. The extension will align Hendrie with the School of Music’s Leigh Hall, and the two buildings will be bridged by an indoor walkway, meant to protect valuable instruments from exposure to winter weather while students carry them between the two halls.

With this new facade, Hendrie Hall will become visible from Cross Campus through the gap between Leigh Hall and the colonial 451 College St. building, which houses the University’s Comparative Literature, Judaic Studies and Religious Studies departments.

“It’s going to be one of the first new buildings on Cross Campus since the 1930s,” School of Architecture Dean Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65 said.

He added that Hendrie, with its Renaissance Revival facade, will face a challenge familiar to many Yale buildings: the extension will need to fit in with the predominantly Gothic architecture of Cross Campus and Leigh.

The plans for the structure currently show the annex with a gabled roof and a wide equilateral arch that matches its neighbors on Cross Campus.

“It will extend the Cross Campus in a way that’s just fabulous, just magnificent,” Reichenbach said of the plans. “We really hope that [the fundraising efforts] are successful.”

Hendrie Hall, constructed in 1895 for the Yale Law School, has housed the Divinity School and a Drama School annex. Today it is used by undergraduate music organizations, radio station WYBC, Associated Student Agencies and administrative offices, in addition to the School of Music and UPS.

The brick building’s limestone facade on Elm Street is located between the Graduate Club Association and the clubhouse of the Elihu Club, a secret society.

Comments

  • Glenn T

    This building is terrible from an accessibility standpoint. The only way to get to the upper floors is by using the stairs. This means that students in wheelchairs are essentially locked out of musical groups like the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band, which rehearse on the fourth floor. Yale should make the renovation of this building a top priority.

  • re: hendrie

    I wish THIS were the new site of a high-rise College :(