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Project of the Year Awards


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Meier Hall, Elmira College


Colleges & University
Date Completed:

Award Description

The 64,000 square-foot Hall accommodates 140 students, residence life staff and visiting faculty. A classroom, recreation lounge, soundproof music rooms and fitness center are just some of the amenities available. The first floor hosts a catering kitchen, conference room, study lounges and Great Hall, which features a grand limestone fireplace, stone tracery windows, window seats and eight ornate chandeliers.

Meier Hall resembles many other buildings on the Elmira College campus, which were originally built in the 1800's in the collegiate gothic architecture style, using brick, limestone, veneer and slate roofs. Therefore, the design for Meier Hall utilizes brick as the primary exterior material, with cut and carved Indiana limestone for accent planes, ornament and incorporation of the college symbols. Soaring towers, steeply pitched gables, crenellated terminations and ornamental entries provide contrast against the brick. To mirror the 19th century architecture in 2010 at a reasonable cost required none other than skilled craftsmen.

From the start, it was established by the Owner that this project would surpass any college dormitory in style, quality and aesthetics. After the design came the reality of building a five-story, 95-room dormitory. The masonry portion of this job was completed by Welliver McGuire's employed masons of the Local No. 3 New York Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Union. They performed over 8,000 hours of work, laying over 127,000 bricks and 580 tons of limestone, standing atop purple scaffolding five stories tall or in a crane towering over 48 feet.

Utilizing an English bond pattern to match brick bonding patterns on campus was straightforward enough, however affordably responding to the hand-molded brick of the historic buildings was especially challenging. The selected brick, Glen-Gery "Shrewsbury", provided the economy of an extruded brick, yet offered the rolled edge and sand finish similar to the other brick on campus. Additionally, the cross-set and face-set firing provided for the variable face flash and the increased visual texture.

Another challenge involved effectively concealing masonry expansion joints within the brick field. Windows and limestone quoins were isolated and affixed to the masonry back-up wall, thus allowing the expansion joints to "zipper" into the quoins and window perimeters. This approach eliminated the typical vertical joints found in contemporary brick veneers. Horizontal relieving angles, lipped brick, and soft joints combine with the vertical solutions, resulting in a veneer of a more traditional character. Additionally, extensive structural steel back-up for limestone support pieces, some weighing over 2 tons, and structural arches in veneer eliminated exposed steel.

Project Participants

• Owner: Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.
• Architect/Designer: QPK Design, Syracuse, N.Y.
• Structural Engineer: John P. Stopen Engineering Partnership, Syracuse
• Construction Manager/Masonry Contractor: Welliver McGuire Inc., Montour Falls, N.Y.
• Masonry Suppliers: Bock Brick Inc., East Syracuse, N.Y.; Indiana Limestone Fabricators, Spencer, Ind.; Glen-Gery Corp., Wyomissing, Pa.
• Stone Carving: Ferree Studios, Tunkhannock, Pa.

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