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Preservation Perfection: T-Hall Nominated for National Trust Award

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
February 28, 2007

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes excellence in historic conservation when it bestows National Preservation awards upon individuals and organizations.

To be eligible, a project has to have, among other things, an impact on its community. That alone should make the nomination of T-Hall a shoe-in.

The facilities department, along with the architectural firm Goody Clancy and Shawmut Design and Construction, has been recommended for the preservation honor based on the $5 million overall of T-Hall that restored the 113-year-old building to its original splendor.

Interim president J. Bonnie Newman and Gov. John Lynch have written letters supporting the nomination.

T-Hall was the first building erected at UNH. Its Romanesque Revival architecture—a term used to described building styles popular in medieval times—is typified by round arches, tunnel vaults and belt courses (continuous layers of stone or brick). The style is sometimes referred to as Richardsonian Romanesque for the architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose most famous work is Boston’s Trinity Church.

Dow & Randlett of Concord, the architectural firm used when T-Hall was built, chose the Richardsonian Romanesque style not only because it was popular in the 1800s but because the design gave the impression of being a building that would endure.

So, it was only natural that when Goody Clancy and Shawmut Design began their painstaking renovations, they sought to mirror the mastery of T-Hall’s original construction.

That meant buying the 3,000 bricks needed to make repairs to the building from a brickyard in Star, North Carolina. And tapping the same Canadian vein that was originally used for the roofing slate. The copper trim was also crafted as it was back in 1892.

“We believe that the Thompson Hall project is worthy of consideration for an award at the national level,” says Brenda Whitmore, project manager.

T-Hall has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996. This project was the first major restoration since it was built.

The 2007 National Preservation Award winners will be announced on October 4 at the National Preservation Conference in Saint Paul, MN.

For more information about the National Trust Award please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org/preservation_awards/

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