Cowles Building Renovation & Addition


Owner: University of Utah / DFCM
Architect: FFKR Architects
Duration: June 2000 to December 2001
Project Value: $7,800,000
Procurement: Design/Bid/Build


The renovation of the Cowles Building at the University of Utah’s historic district on President’s Circle, provides a long awaited new home for the Math Department.

The historic Cowles Building was a four level unreinforced masonry structure that is over one hundred years old. Work started with the complete interior demolition including many of the structural components. The building was internally shored while a new structural shell was installed inside the original masonry. This was done with a reinforced shotcrete application that brings the building into compliance with current seismic codes. The use of historically accurate replacement windows and the beautiful mahogany millwork compliment the traditional interior finishes as well as new marble and oak stairways.

The Cowles Building is connected to the existing Widstoe Building with a new study center below grade, accented by traditional skylights, glass wall and door systems, and a remarkable “lantern” type skylight.

The space above the new math center is an open plaza highlighted by architectural concrete, new sandstone finishes, and landscape features that make this the new gathering place on campus.

While the exterior of the historic Cowles Building was not changed, the new plaza and sandstone and glass addition give this facility a new look for the next one hundred years.



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