The latest addition to Morgan State University in Baltimore, a stacked stone hall that combines student and administrative services under one roof, is finally open to the public. Completed in September 2020 but only formally opened to the public this October, the Calvin and Tina Tyler Hall Student Services Centre shakes up programming at the Morgan State with a series of stacked, alternating setbacks.
Clad in 2-inch-thick Eramosa limestone panels over precast concrete, Calvin & Tina Tyler Hall, although drastically different in massing than its peers, was intended to help bridge the modern sections of the campus to the south with the historic northern portion. Founded in 1867 as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Morgan State has been at its current location in northeastern Baltimore since 1917 and the campus was listed as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2016—in no small part thanks to the more than 20 buildings by Black architects it holds.
To create a new student services center that physically and metaphorically bridged the campus as well as accommodated a period of record-high enrollment, Morgan tapped the Toronto-based Teeple Architects—take a gander at the firm’s completed projects and it becomes apparent that they’re no strangers to designing large academic halls. Baltimore’s GWWO Architects served as the architect of record, while Floura Teeter handled the landscape architecture both around the center and across the cascading terraces. As the hall sits embedded in a hill with a 15-foot grade change, terraced rain gardens were installed on the steep side to help manage stormwater runoff.
The 141,000-square-foot, five-story hall splays out like a bowtie or butterfly, with its most prominent “prow” drawing the gaze north. Aside from visual cues, the “wings” on the northern side funnel visitors, students, and Morgan State staff into the main entrance, which is marked by a reflective sculptural soffit. Punch windows set into angled stone insets lend the facade a further sense of dynamism, as they sweep across all four sides of the hall.
Inside, Teeple and GWWO lent the interior a stark contrast to the heavy stone facade through the installation of a central atrium and lounge that soars the entire height of the building. Offices around the third, fourth, and fifth floor all ring it, allowing light from the adjacent full-height window wall to deeply penetrate throughout.
Programmatically, Calvin & Tina Tyler Hall aggregates student lounges and the third-floor service hub with space for the admissions, transfer, bursar, financial aid, human resources, and records and registration offices. Administrative office space is also spread out across every floor, and a planted third-floor terrace sits on top of the hall’s distinctive northern “swoop.”
The LEED Gold Certified Calvin & Tina Tyler Hall cost $69 million to build, according to the school, and is named after alumnus Calvin Tyler and his wife Tina, who gifted the school with $20 million this February—the largest single sum ever donated to an HBCU.