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~Wellesley College Selects Architect for New Campus Center~

For immediate release:
February 27, 2001

CONTACT:

Mary Ann Hill
(781) 283-2373

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- The Wellesley College Board of Trustees has tapped Atlanta- based Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects to design the college's new campus center.

The firm has extensive design experience at colleges and universities, including the Ohio State University's new School of Architecture, the music library at UC-Berkeley, and student housing at Tulane University. The firm's work has received five national AIA Awards for Excellence and has been featured in numerous publications including Architecture, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Time magazine.

"Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam are a brilliant design team with tremendous experience working with campus communities and various constituencies," said Edward Lawrence, vice chair of the Board of Trustees and chair of the architect selection committee. "They will push us to create an outstanding building that makes its mark on the landscape of this magnificent campus."

Mack Scogin, who will be the lead designer for the campus center, is the Kajima Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he was Chairman of the Department of Architecture from 1990 to 1995. "Mack Scogin is a designer of enormous skill, resourcefulness, experience, and sensitivity," said Bill Mitchell, a member of Wellesley's Board of Trustees, a member of its search committee, and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "He is a designer who really shines in circumstances where there are multiple voices to be heard and complex and sometimes contradictory demands to be resolved."

"Since its inception Wellesley College has been and continues to be one of the most distinguished academic and physical environments in the world," Scogin said. "Over the years there has been an extraordinary tradition of stewardship and innovation necessary to sustain this distinction. As the selected architects for the new campus center, we recognize the significance of our responsibility to extend and strengthen this tradition as we work with the Wellesley community on the design and implementation of this important, visionary project for the campus. It is, indeed, a personal and professional responsibility we welcome with a great sense of honor and excitement."

In addition to her practice, Merrill Elam lectures and teaches frequently, having served as visiting critic at Harvard's Graduate School of Design and visiting professor at Yale University and the University of Virginia. She was architectural consultant for Wellesley's 1998 Campus Master Plan. With Scogin, she received the 1995 Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 1996 Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design.

The approximately 75,000 square foot campus center will house a bookstore/café, space for student organizations, a large multi-purpose space for performances and social functions, and formal and informal meeting spaces. The building will be named for Lulu Chow Wang '66 and her husband Anthony, whose $25 million contribution was the largest in Wellesley's history and the largest commitment by an individual to a women's college.

The trustees also voted to site the building in the Alumnae Valley, an area adjacent to Alumnae Hall and the Physical Plant. "The Alumnae Valley site opens a whole new range of opportunities and challenges us to reframe the way we think about the campus," noted Lawrence. "We have the opportunity rehabilitate an important part of the campus and create a new landmark near the entrance to the college."

Both actions were recommended to the Board by the Campus Center Architect and Site Selection Committee, which had undertaken a comprehensive, seven-month process of consultation and review before making its final recommendation. Chaired by trustee Ed Lawrence and comprised of faculty, students, trustees, and staff, the committee reviewed proposals from 12 architects, culled from an initial list of over 60, before narrowing its field to three finalists. The committee separated the site selection and architect selection processes, asking each finalist to comment on the two sites proposed by the 1998 Campus Master Plan.

Wellesley College is a prominent liberal arts college and has been a leader in the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to about 2,300 undergraduate students. Wellesley's distinguished alumnae include former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, and broadcast journalists Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer, and Lynn Sherr.

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  • Office of Public Information
  • Date Modified: July 31, 2001
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