Dodd Hall served as the Florida State University library from 1924 to 1956, when Strozier Library was completed on campus. This historic landmark is an exceptional example of Gothic Revival architecture and represents not only a significant piece of the historic fabric of the FSU campus, but also the academic history of Florida State University. This rich history is illustrated through a series of custom stained glass windows in the Werkmeister Humanities Reading Room. The central stained glass window with an intricate image of the campus and Florida landscape was constructed by Bob and Jo Ann Bischoff and includes over 10,000 individual pieces of glass. The stained glass windows flanking the grand hall illustrate key figures and events from FSU history.
The smaller west wing was built in 1925. The larger east and south wings were constructed between 1928 and 1929, bringing the building to its current configuration. Over the main entrance, rendered in gold leaf, are the words, "The half of knowledge is to know where to find knowledge." Home to the library until 1956 when Strozier Library opened, Dodd Hall has since housed the College of Arts and Sciences, the Philosophy Department and WFSU-TV. In 1961, the building was renamed in honor of William George Dodd, a former English professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1910–1944. Dodd Hall was completely renovated in 1991 and retains both interior and exterior architectural integrity. Even the construction of the new Dodd Hall Auditorium completed in 1993 did not detract from the building's architectural presence. In the lobby of Dodd Hall, note the large oil painting on the east wall. Commissioned by the Class of 1949 and painted by renowned artist and FSU alumna Artemis Housewright, “The University, Sunrise to Sunset” depicts University history and local flora and fauna.
A highly visible project, Florida State University approached MLD Architects (MLD) and Architects Lewis + Whitlock (AL+W) for Design, Construction Documents, and Construction Administration services to restore and stabilize the building envelope, historic windows and renovate the historic, 3,800 square foot Werkmeister Room in order to create a University Heritage Museum to celebrate the tradition and history of Florida State University.
The room is served by several existing mechanical units along each perimeter exterior wall. The utility valves and access requirements posed a difficult challenge for the new wood floor installation. The existing floor substrate was not adequate and had several areas that sagged and were depressed. The existing carpet finish and entire floor substrate were removed. The floor joist system was inspected, and several locations were repaired in order to provide adequate support for the new floor decking while bridging over existing pipes and conduits. Two layers of plywood decking were installed with glue and screw fasteners to provide a solid substrate, free of deflection and noise. The access panels, which were required at every unit (14 total), were creatively designed into the floor pattern. This allowed the joints where the wood flooring had to stop, to be concealed to the greatest extent possible. The access panels included the finish flooring as well as both layers of decking and were secured to the floor with recessed cast bronze anchors and latches that provided for an uninterrupted level floor surfaces throughout.
The main challenge the design team faced with this project was the multiple stained glass windows adorning the exterior of the Werkmeister Room. These windows had very intricate mullion detailing, as well as the obvious delicacy of the stained glass. Great care was taken when pressure washing and cleaning the exterior of the building to prevent any damage to the windows.
Multiple design workshops were conducted with FSU departments and alumni groups to achieve a vision and concept for the museum, which allows for versatile functionality and emphasizes the rich architectural character of the space.
Several meetings were held with the Bureau of Historic Preservation State Architect to ensure complete coordination with the Secretary of Interior Standards for historic preservation.
This successful project was restored according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines and Standards.
2011 Historic Preservation Award Winner
In addition to full service building and renovation design, MLD Architects has extensive experience in roof design and consultation. Randy Lewis is a recognized roofing systems expert, and has written articles for Florida AIA magazine and Florida Roofers magazine. MLD Architects has earned an excellent reputation for diagnosing roof problems, and offering corrective solutions. Due to his expertise, Mr. Lewis has provided expert testimony on numerous cases.