The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Mason and Haven Halls (Angell Hall addition)

The extraordinary increase in enrollment immediately after World War II, with a corresponding increase in staff, made the need for additional classroom and office space acute. Accordingly, the Regents in the spring of 1946 authorized Vice-President Robert P. Briggs to make application to the Federal Works Agency for funds to prepare plans for an addition to Angell Hall. The sum of $60,000 was received for this purpose from the Federal Works Agency in July, 1946, and the Regents selected the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls of Detroit to draw up preliminary plans (R.P., 1945-48, p. 475).

In its initial stages, the planning proceeded on the assumption that the new building or buildings would replace six old structures which had been condemned as fire hazards: Haven Hall, the Economics Building, University Hall, Mason Hall, South Wing, and the Romance Language Building. At that time this represented a potential loss of sixty-five classrooms and 142 offices. Dean Hayward Keniston of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts proposed that these buildings be replaced by four separate structures: an addition to Angell Hall, a foreign language building, a human relations building, and an institutional relations building. These were to provide a total of about 140 classrooms and 250 offices.

These proposals, however, were regarded as much too ambitious, and it was thought wiser to consider the removal of only three buildings, Mason Hall, University Hall, and South Wing. The necessity for a more thorough study of the needs of the College was apparent, and James H. Robertson, of the Department of English, was appointed by the College to analyze the requirements of the various departments and to prepare a report, which was submitted in July, 1948. Throughout the summer and early fall, Associate Dean Lloyd S. Woodburne, Mr. L. Fry, and the architects held frequent meetings in an attempt to arrive at a design which would provide as much space as possible.

The original plan to enlarge Angell Hall by the addition of wings at the ends with an adjoining wing running north and south to enclose a central court was abandoned. The enormous increase in Page  1679building costs made such a plan prohibitive, if the proposed addition were to conform to the architectural style of Angell Hall. In fact, it became apparent that if anything like the needed classroom and office space were to be provided, the traditional plan of combining both faculty offices and classrooms in the same structure would have to be abandoned. The ceiling height for classrooms is considerably greater than that necessary for offices. Consequently, the inclusion of both offices and classrooms in the same structure is hardly economical. It was, therefore, decided to house some offices and classrooms in an office building with smaller offices and lower ceilings, and to build a second structure to include only the classrooms. The Executive Committee of the College agreed to this plan with some reluctance. but it was realized that the convenience of having offices close to classrooms was less important than the loss of space would be, with the current construction costs, under the traditional arrangement.

In October, 1948, the Regents, in their request to the legislature for appropriations for capital improvements, included a request for $3,750,000 for an addition to Angell Hall. In December of that year, the Regents appropriated $52,500 to complete the cost of plans and specifications which had been begun with the $60,000 from the Federal Works Agency.

The preliminary designs were approved in January, 1949, and the architects, Smith, Hinchman and Grylls were authorized to proceed with the preparation of the final plans and specifications. These called for an F-shaped structure with the two shorter arms adjoining the east side of Angell Hall. The addition comprised a four-story classroom section, including space for a study hall, two auditorium units, each containing two lecture halls, and an eight-story office building, the total amounting to approximately 190,000 square feet.

The legislature failed to appropriate funds for the building in the spring of 1949, and construction was therefore postponed. Action was precipitated, however, the following year by the destruction of Haven Hall by fire in June, 1950. Immediate application was then made to the legislature and in House Bill No. 32 the legislature appropriated the sum of $1,500,000 for the Angell Hall addition with the understanding that the total cost of the complete program would not exceed $4,000,000 (R.P., 1948-51, p. 923). In the meantime prices had risen, and the plans prepared in 1948 were revised in an attempt to bring the cost of the structure within the sum approved by the legislature. One auditorium unit was eliminated, and the other was redesigned to contain four lecture halls. Costs were also pared by other modifications in interior construction.

Vice-President Briggs was authorized by the Regents to let contracts for the demolition of Mason Hall, University Hall, and, if necessary, South Wing. After a restudy of the space needs of the College, the Executive Committee requested the administration to permit both Mason Hall and South Wing to stand. As the plans called for the addition to Angell Hall to be built on much of the space occupied by Mason Hall this request was denied, and these buildings were razed. Their elimination resulted in the loss of twenty classrooms, 120 offices, and the space occupied by the Bureau of Government Library, a total of about 167,000 square feet.

The Regents awarded the contract for the new construction to Bryant and Detwiler Company, and excavation was begun before the rubble from the old Page  1680buildings had been cleared away.

It soon became apparent that it would be difficult to hold the cost to the $4,000,000 figure. At the request of the Regents, the legislature increased the total appropriation for the new buildings to $4,784,403 (R.P., 1948-51, p. 1304).

In the early stages of planning the Angell Hall addition, it was provided that the building would house all the social science departments of the College. The reduction of space in the building, however, as a result of increased building costs and the dislocations produced by simultaneous elimination of Haven Hall, Mason Hall, University Hall, and South Wing required some modification in the original plans. Haven Hall had housed the departments of History, Sociology, Journalism, and the Bureau of Government Library. The Department of Philosophy and the academic counselors for freshmen and sophomores had been in Mason Hall. The Institute for Social Research occupied most of the space in University Hall, while South Wing housed teaching fellows in mathematics and Romance languages, as well as the Romance Languages Laboratory. It became necessary, therefore, to consider a rather general redistribution of space in Angell Hall, as well as in the new building.

After much study of the situation, the Executive Committee of the College, in March, 1951, recommended to the administration the following allocation of space in the office section of the addition: the first and second floors to the Department of English, the third floor to the Department of History, the fourth floor to the Department of Political Science, the fifth floor to the Department of Sociology, and the sixth and seventh floors to the Department of Psychology. A conference room on the ground floor was assigned to each of these departments.

Most of the third floor of the classroom section of the addition was allocated to the Department of Psychology for student and research laboratories, including the Vision Research Laboratory, and two rooms on the ground floor were set aside for the Psychology Instrument Shop. The Department of Journalism, the Language Laboratory, and the English Language Institute were assigned space on the first floor.

The buildings were finally completed in the late spring of 1952, and the various departments moved in during the summer. The Regents decided to retain the old names, Mason Hall and Haven Hall, assigning the former to the classroom section and the latter to the office building. The four large auditoriums were named Angell Hall Auditoriums A, B, C, and D. On September 26, 1952, the buildings were formally dedicated in an appropriate ceremony on the steps of the General Library.

Haven Hall, when completed, included 188 offices, housed 175 members of the faculty in addition to teaching fellows and secretarial staff, and contained 53,999 square feet. Mason Hall comprises, in addition to a study hall and laboratories, forty-one classrooms and twenty offices, and has a total area of 121,548 square feet. The Auditoriums, A, B, C, and D, seat 350, 258, 200, and 196, respectively, and have a total area of 25,474 square feet.

The total cost of the addition, $4,734,324, was distributed approximately as follows: construction, $3,989,307; architectural and engineering costs, $239,633; land improvement and utilities, $214,471; equipment, $290,913.