Even the most precious gems need to be re-polished over time. Originally designed in 1956 by Springfield’s grandfather of modern architecture, Richard P. Stahl, FAIA, Pummill Hall resides at the southwest corner of Missouri State University’s original quadrangle. A distinctly modern, four story structure, the building is clad in stone on the east and west facades with an early aluminum and glass curtain wall system on the north and south facades. One enters the building on an elevated second floor via two sweeping concrete ramps that gives the building a monumental presence. Although architecturally expressive, the building was showing its age and was in desperate need of renovation.
The original challenge was to renovate the upper two floors for the growing Hospitality and Restaurant Management program. The program consists of classrooms and faculty offices, along with a fully functioning, state of the art kitchen that serves as a teaching lab and restaurant. In addition, the entire curtain wall system was replaced with high performance glass and thermally broken frames improving the building’s energy efficiency and the existing elevator was replaced to improve accessibility throughout the facility. During the course of the design process, the remaining two floors of the building were added to the scope, making way for the Department of Social Work and additional general use classrooms.
Our design approach is to respect the organizational and compositional rigor of the existing cast in place structure, while freshening the building’s interior and exterior. The design solution attempts to suggest what Richard P. Stahl would do if he were still practicing today. While more energy efficient, the new north facade is highly transparent, allowing passersby to experience the activity within. The south facade incorporates strategically placed ceramic frit to frame views of the horizon while mitigating additional heat gain. The interior is reconfigured to accommodate the new program, placing community spaces such as student collaboration areas and the functioning restaurant at the central protrusion on the north elevation above the building’s entry. This location serves again to connect people to one another. It is about seeing and being seen. The Pummill Hall renovation brings a new life to the old ‘gem’ helping it glimmer for many more years to come.