Clark Hall, a 35,000-square-foot freshman residence hall occupies a prominent location at the center of Wesleyan's campus. Henry Bacon, the architect of the Lincoln Memorial, designed the brownstone building in 1916. By 2000 it needed substantial renovation including demolition and reconstruction of all interiors, restoration of the brownstone exterior, new HVAC and fire protection, new stairways, new windows, and abatement of lead and asbestos.
The original building had three separate entries to the east facing a dark service court. Now a new, double-height entry and stone terrace welcome freshman on the sunny, west side of the building. This single entry secures the building and captures previously unused space for needed amenities: a monitored lobby, a large lounge, quiet study spaces, a full kitchen, laundry, and an interior bicycle 'garage.' A new elevator serves all five floors.
Residential rooms, most housing two students, surround double-loaded corridors. The original halls were very narrow and without daylight. New lounges and seating niches at the mid-point and ends of widened corridors, animated with natural light, now provide informal meeting places for students. New bathrooms sit in the location of an unneeded, but centrally located, third stairway. Proctor rooms sit across from the two exit stairways to provide easy monitoring and security.
Once the least popular residence hall on campus, Clark Hall has become the student favorite.
Photography © Derek Hayn/Centerbrook, Norman McGrath