Olin Going Up

In April, 1973, Garland at Highland Avenue resounded with the sound of construction as the School of Engineering’s new Olin Hall rose. Designed by Robinson Neil Bass and Associates, the building was built using a $4 million gift from the F.W. Olin Foundation. Announced in 1969, the nine-story classroom and laboratory building was finished in 1975.

According to the late Dillard Jacobs, legendary professor of mechanical engineering, a highlight of the 1974–1975 school year was Olin’s opening and dedication. He also noted, “there were delays in construction, however. First there were building foundation problems due to the eroded limestone under the area. The Olin people insist that their buildings be architecturally unique; they got their wish at Vanderbilt. … In general, forms could not be reused on this monolithic concrete structure and so costs were high and construction slow. However, the building is unique and adequately houses Chemical Engineering and Materials Engineering, which boast some of the finest and most modern research equipment on any college campus.”

Fast-forward nearly 40 years and Olin needed updating. Read this issue’s story, “Olin’s Innovative Transformation,” for its latest renovations.

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