Brown University Cabinet Building/Mencoff Hall, Adaptive Reuse Award, 68 Waterman Street
Originally designed by James Bucklin and built for the Rhode Island Historical Society to house its growing collection in the early 1840s, the Cabinet Building underwent several additions over the years — one of which covered its dome. Architects Lerner, Ladds & Bartels were commissioned by the university to return the building to its original elegance while creating a home for the Population Studies Center.
A series of glass walls and open stairways reflect the center’s spirit of collaborative interdependence. The monumental doors of the main entrance have been permanently fixed open, allowing passer-bys to see the interior through glass doors. The sightline from the street extends through the building to the dome ceiling. The domed space is now the Center’s main conference room. By uncovering the dome and reforming the interior space, the building’s spatial hierarchy and elegance of design have been wonderfully restored.
Other integral contributors include E.W. Burman, Inc., Odeh Engineers, Wilkinson Associates, and Gaskell Associates.