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Monday, April 6, 2009

Wilson Auditorium

Wilson Auditorium sits prominently on Clifton Ave. on the University of Cincinnati campus, between McMicken Hall and the DAAP Building. The building houses a large auditorium, as well as four floors of support spaces and a wing full of classrooms. Overall, there are 100 rooms and the building consists of approximately 40,000 gross square feet of usable space.

Originally constructed in 1931 to house the University of Cincinnati's theatrical performances, as well as lectures and speeches. The building was built from funds donated by Judge Obed Wilson, and is named in commemoration of him. The architecture firm Fechheimer & Ihorst (who also designed the pavilion at Ault Park, and now demolished Beecher Hall) was responsible for the design. The building is a fine example of Art Deco ornamentation that was popular during the time of construction.

A sculptor by the name of Clement J. Barnhorn is responsible for the impressive reliefs that adorn the facades of Wilson Hall. Masters of theater and oration are carved into the heavy limestone sections of the building. UC Magazine points out that several other buildings on UC's campus contain similar carvings, for example the names of famous scientists adorn the facade of neighbering Braunstein Hall.

Wilson Hall has been unused since 2004. Current plans call for demolition of the building to make way for a new College of Arts & Sciences building. There are no plans to restore or renovate the building, this option is seemingly off the table for the university. Due to some financial difficulties the university has run into recently (state mandated frozen tuition) no formal plans for demolition and replacement have been made. Schematic plans are available in the master plan (which is available via the University Library in DAAP) .

Wilson Auditorium Photos and Graphics:


Dan said...

I love Wilson's design. It is underappreciated in my opinion.

WestEnder said...

Always sad to see an historic ediface come down. Hopefully its replacement will be impressive enough to assuage the disappointment.

Doug said...

UC does seem to have a decent track record of quality replacement architecture. That being said, I'd hate to see such a wonderful example of Art Deco architecture razed, when it could easily be used for lecture or secondary performance space...


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