Fleck Hall, a functional, flat-topped, “concrete shoebox” efficiently built in 1958 to serve as St. Edwards University’s science building, was slated for demolition when the new John Brooks Williams Natural Science Center opened in fall 2006. But architect Arthur Andersson convinced administrators that Fleck Hall was worth saving. The main selling point: Fleck’s lasting, adaptable structure, a defined and consistent concrete grid.
Because Fleck was structurally sound, the architect’s proposed capping the building with a glazed third floor, to house conference rooms and an intimate, executive dining room for St. Edwards’s fundraisers. The existing floors have been converted into state-of-the-art classrooms and faculty office spaces. The scheme reinforces the clean lines and strong material presence of the original structure, creating dramatic views of both the campus and downtown Austin.
The renovated, 28,000 sqf building, reopened in August 2007, subtly complements the campus’s more opulent, turn-of-the-century buildings designed by Nicholas Clayton. “Fleck is always going to be a background building,” says Andersson. “It can’t compete with the campus grandes dames, and we don’t want it to.” Instead, the new Fleck is elegantly conceived to be St. Edwards’s new lantern and entry building.
Text provided by Andersson Wise Architects