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The College Campus

Freeman International Center At the extreme northwest of campus is a complex built in 1970 as "Social Dining Units." Intended to provide more intimate alternatives to the larger campus dining halls, it combined faculty offices, seminar rooms, lounges and dining rooms in three units clustered around a central kitchen. This award-winning design by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott of Boston, combined contemporary forms and materials (such as the brutal, exposed concrete of the terrace) with a vocabulary that is at home in Middlebury and rural Vermont—limestone, wood, pitched slate roofs, silos and small-scale, picturesque massing.

The individual sections are named for President Cyrus Hamlin (1880 – 85) during whose presidency women were admitted to Middlebury; Professor-Emeritus Reginald C. ("Doc") Cook '24, forty years a faculty member, long-time director of the Bread Loaf School of English, and biographer of Robert Frost; and Professor-Emeritus Stephen A. Freeman, forty-five-year faculty member and long-time director of the Summer Language Schools. In 1993 Dr. Freeman became the namesake for the entire complex as reworked, with an additional floor designed by Moser Pilson Nelson Architects, for use as Middlebury's center for international studies.

Atwater Commons The second of the residential commons to be completed, Atwater (named for first college president Jeremiah Atwater) is notable for its inclusion of significant existing buildings, a complex topographical site, and environmental design into an interactive commons community.

Coffrin Hall This dormitory, constructed in 1986 according to the designs of Edward Larrabee Barnes, is a good example of the attitudes of the post modern era, adapting and updating motifs derived from other campus buildings (e.g. Forest Hall and Le Château). It was built as a series of interconnected segments that can operate as autonomous units for different languages during the Middlebury Summer Language Schools. Its staggered massing let it appear smaller than its actual size, but also permitted it to follow the forms of a ledge against which it was built.

Concepts present in Coffrin Hall were important to the three new buildings constructed by Kieran Timberlake Associates of Philadelphia in 2002 – 4 to as upperclass housing and dining facilities for Atwater Commons. The dormitories were set to follow the lines of north-south ridges, framing a green that preserves the outward vista from the Château. Their massing and rooflines take cues from Painter Hall, as does their organization into a sequence of entries. This configuration permits the creation of apartment-like suites that extend through the depth of the building to assure natural cross ventilation, assisted by ceiling fans and by ventilation shafts in the form of rooftop chimneys. The oval dining pavilion also responds to its landscape and its views. Terminating a diagonal vista into and through the commons from the direction of Pearsons Hall and straddling the walk linking the commons with the residence of its faculty heads (Nichols House on Weybridge Street), the dining hall settles into a wooded landscape and emphasizes views outward to the Green Mountains. Its green roof is planted to help it to merge into the landscape, but also for its abilities as an insulator and a controller of run-off. Such innovations are representative of the college's ongoing initiatives in environmentally responsible design.

Coffrin Hall in the last stage of its completion, July 1986.

ABOVE Coffrin Hall in the last stage of its completion, July 1986. Middlebury College Archives, Erik Borg Collection

BELOW Le Château, 1926. Middlebury College Archives, A12 PF

Le Château, 1926.

Le Château The landmark building for Atwater, establishing its "address" on the main campus, is Le Château. For long this reigned as the oldest and one of the largest "maisons françaises" (French language residence halls) in the country. Built in 1925 as a gift of Frederica Holden Proctor and according to the designs of James Lange Mills of New York, it was inspired by the 17th century Pavilion Henri IV at the Palace of Fontainebleau in France. It was the first of Middlebury's language dormitories, containing a library, a resident's suite, classrooms, offices, salon, and dining room as well as student residences. In its self-containment its program suggested the mix that would ultimately be created on a larger and non-Francophone scale by the commons of which it has become a component. Recast for its new role in 2004, Le Château still houses the Department of French, while its classrooms, salon, and residential floors serve a broader constituency as well, and its dining hall has been converted into a performance space.

Allen Hall Completed in 1963, Allen Hall was an extension of the Château idea—divisible into four sections, each with its own study lounge and resident's suite, with the ability to serve groups of students wishing to speak a particular language. It is named for Cecil Child Allen '01 and constructed of slate from her home town of Fair Haven, Vt. In 2004 it was adapted for use as a first year residence hall and commons offices for Atwater Commons.

Wright Memorial Theatre (1958) This 400-seat theatre is named for Charles Baker Wright. Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature from 1885 to 1920. Designed by the firm of McKim, Mead and White, it serves as the College's proscenium stage for a broad range of undergraduate, summer school, and visiting professional productions.

Johnson Building, exterior, 1968. Johnson Building, interior central court during the dedication ceremony, 1968.

ABOVE Johnson Building, exterior and interior central court during the dedication ceremony, 1968. Middlebury College Archives, A12 PF

BELOW The southernmost of the Battell Halls in 1950, five years before the central section was added. Middlebury College Archives, A12 PF

Johnson Building Designed by the firm of Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott and built in 1968, this handsome structure was the gift of the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation. It demonstrated that a building need not have a cupola to fit in with the Middlebury campus. The architecture is brutalist in style, with raw concrete, cement block walls, and natural wood throughout, but the scale and the limestone exterior permit it to co-exist quietly and naturally with other campus structures. Originally built to house the programs in art and music, it is now home to departments of Studio Art and History of Art and Architecture. The studios, extending across the east side of the building on two levels, afford their occupants the striking vista of Middlebury and the surrounding mountains that first led Joseph Battell to purchase the North Campus for the College. The skylit central court and adjacent gallery are filled during the academic year with changing exhibitions of student work. Out front is a mobile ("Eccentric Variation VI") commissioned from sculptor George Rickey in 1975.

Battell Halls Across Château quadrangle from the Johnson Building and named for the College's great local benefactor, Joseph Battell, are the Battell Halls, dormitories built in 1950 (north and south ends) and 1955 (center).

Sunderland Language Center At the corner of College Street and the mall are are the Sunderland Language Center and the adjoining Charles A. Dana Auditorium (1965). The 270-seat auditorium is a favorite location for large lectures (College and public) and the many domestic and foreign films presented during the year. Sunderland's primary role on campus is as the year-round nerve center for the most famous of Middlebury's educational programs—the study of modern languages.

The special association of Middlebury with languages dates back to 1915, when the College instituted an intensive summer program in German, followed by French (1916), Spanish (1917), Italian (1932), Russian (1945), Chinese (196), Japanese (1970), Arabic (1982), and Portuguese (2003). The pioneering philosophy of the programs was and remains a total immersion in language, literature, and culture—all communication to be in the language studied and relapses into English forbidden under penalty of expulsion. To this end each language group is assigned its own living and dining facilities, and close out-of-class contact is maintained between students and faculty. Before the completion of the Château, the French School held forth for some years at the old Logan House Hotel on Park Street. The Germans were established for a time in the village of Bristol. Today the entire campus in summer is devoted to language study, with as many of more students than during the regular year.

For Middlebury juniors and for students in the graduate summer programs, the study of language extends broad, where through C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad maintain schools in sixteen cities in France, Germany, Italy, Latin America, Russia, and Spain.

Other College facilities of likely interest to the visitor are the Center for the Arts, the athletic complex and the mountain campus, the first two accessible by foot, the latter definitely requiring a car to reach.

Center for the Arts, exterior and interior looking down from a third story balcony, 1994. Images used courtesy of Glenn M. Andres

Center for the Arts This building was constructed in 1988 – 92 to the designs of Hardy, Holzman, Pfeiffer Associates. It is conceived as a collage of materials and forms—a sloping-roofed shed intersected by a great circular courtyard and penetrated by performance and museum halls, each maintaining its own identity of shape and materials within and without. Here, about a complex, multi-level lobby can be found the College's black box theatre, a surround concert hall, a dance performance hall, the College art museum, the box office, and a café. The complex also includes classrooms, rehearsal space, and technical support for the programs in theater, dance, and music, along with an extensive library housing some 10,000 volumes, 20,000 recordings, and 15,000 musical scores.

Also housed at the Center for the Arts is the Middlebury College Museum of Art. The Museum was inaugurated in the Center for the Arts in 1992. Originally established in the Johnson Building in 1968 as the Christian A. Johnson Memorial Gallery, the museum now houses the permanent art collection of the College as well as the new Christian A. Johnson Memorial Gallery, a space given by the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation for the accommodation of traveling exhibitions. The collection of several thousand objects ranges from ancient through contemporary art and includes distinguished collections of antique pottery, 19th century European and American sculpture, Asian art, photography, and contemporary prints. Particularly noteworthy are a 5th-century B.C.E. Greek amphora by the Berlin Painter; a wax over plaster sculpture, "Bimbo Malato," by the 19th-century Italian sculptor Medardo Rosso; and "The Moon, August 6, 1851," a daguerreotype by John Adams Whipple. The museum is also home to the earliest work of art acquired by the College: a monumental relief of a winged guardian spirit, or genius, from the 9th-century B.C.E. palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, now northern Iraq. The museum is open to the public free of charge throughout the year.

The Fieldhouses The athletic fields and fieldhouses are on South Main Street (Route 30), southwest of the Center for the Arts. Here in 1949 was built the Memorial Field House with the gifts of 5,000 alumni in memory of classmates lost in the war. Originally an air base in Rome, New York, it was dismantled, moved by truck, and reassembled on the Middlebury site. It houses the Pepin Gymnasium and Nelson Recreation Center (the former Nelson Hockey Arena, refitted with a multi-use activities floor and climbing wall). Adjacent are a Fitness Center (1985) with panoramic windows overlooking the Green Mountains, an Olympic-sized Natatorium (1996), and the Chip Kenyon '85 hockey arena (1999), all by Moser Pilon Nelson of Wethersfield, Conn. Beyond the fieldhouse complex are the Youngman Stadium (Moser Pilon Nelson, 1991), the 18-hole Ralph Myre Golf Course, and the lighted 3.5 km Kelly cross-country ski and jogging trail (1976). On a knoll south of the stadium entrance a bronze rendition of the Middlebury Panther (Lorenzo Ghiglieri, 1997) crouches atop a great glacial boulder. Transported to the site by the Committee on Art in Public Places to serve as an appropriate base this is purportedly the largest single piece of stone to have been moved in Vermont since the Ice Age.

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