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Loyola University New Orleans Monroe Hall wins regional design award

Loyola press release - June 15, 2016

A center of learning for 45 years, Monroe Hall is home to STEAM studies.

Painstaking and transformative renovations to a center of learning at Loyola University New Orleans have led to a regional design award for architects’ thoughtful response, refreshing simplicity and overall design excellence.

Holly and Smith Architects, based in New Orleans and Hammond, were honored for the project by architects from the Gulf States Region of the American Institute of Architects on May 20 in Philadelphia. Selected from among 130 submitted projects in a juried contest, Monroe Hall at Loyola University received a Merit Award.

“Although the design goes a long way to deny the previous horizontality, it has created a complete overhaul feel over a five-year period while maintaining full occupancy as required. The architects took an eyesore and gave it the Cinderella treatment,” a panel of judges said in their review. “While using the structure of the existing building, everything else gets a much needed facelift and looks as if it was always that way.”

A center of learning at Loyola for 45 years, Monroe Hall is home to both new and traditional academic majors. More than 40 percent of undergraduate courses take place in the building, which celebrated its $93 million renovation last fall. The project brought an additional two floors and 114,000 square feet, improving classroom and meeting space in the building.

With help from private donors, including the J. Edgar Monroe Foundation and the Edward G. Schleiter Foundation via the university’s ongoing Faith in the Future campaign, Monroe Hall received extensive renovations and rehabilitation bringing new chemistry, physics and biology laboratories to Loyola’s College of Humanities and Natural Sciences, as well as a state-of-the-art 3,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse made possible by The Azby Fund, a local philanthropic organization.

The new home to the College of Music and Fine Arts’ theatre arts and dance and visual arts departments, Monroe Hall also now includes cutting-edge design and studio art spaces, where students study sculpture, welding, printmaking, painting, drawing and graphic design. The space includes: three design studios, two elements studios and two teaching computer labs with state-of-the-art projection and surround sound systems. It also includes improved classrooms, a screen printing room, darkroom and digital printing and equipment lab and a 3-D technology printer.

The new theatre arts space also includes a theatre design laboratory, a performance studio and “the costume shop,” a studio space where theatre arts students make elaborate costumes for theatrical performances.

“This award confirms the experience that our students and faculty have had in the new Monroe Hall,” said Associate Vice President for Development Christopher Wiseman '88, Ph.D. “It has transformed what we can offer our students and the community, in the classroom, in art and design studios, in laboratories, and in Nunemaker Auditorium. Monroe Hall reminds us of what vision and philanthropy can do to change lives.”