University of Delaware Mechanical Hall

Cultural, Educational, Historic, Award Winning, Historic

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Mechanical Hall at the University of Delaware was renovated by Ziger|Snead to house the Paul R. Jones Collection, one of the largest and most complete holdings of African-American Art in the world. The building consists of three galleries, a study for viewing artwork containing custom-designed flat files, a conservation room, art storage spaces, faculty offices, and a conference room. The two-story brick and heavy timber structure was built in 1898 for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering classrooms and a machine shop. The building has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

Removal of interior partitions and ceilings revealed the original character of the building and exposed the heavy timber structure. Plaster and paint were stripped off the walls to expose the original brick, and panels for displaying artwork float off of the existing brick walls. The palette was limited to painted drywall, Venetian plaster, dark-stained White Oak floors, and White Oak doors and casework Ziger|Snead also added a new glass vestibule to mark the new entrance to the gallery.


Design Team: Steve Ziger; Joseph Celluci; Craig Carbrey; Dan Jones, Glenn Shrum

Team: Duffield Associates, Inc. - Civil Engineer; Harry Alexander, V.J. Doors, Inc. - Hardware; Mueller Associates - Mechanical & Electrical Engineer; Gredell & Associates - Structural Engineer; Acoustical Design Collaborative - Acoustical Consultant; Tom Taylor (Univ. of Delaware) - Landscape Architect

Owner: University of Delaware

Location: Newark, Delaware

Construction Cost: $3,000,000

Area: 13,500 sf

Completion: 2004

Photography: Alain Jaramillo


  • 2006 Interior Design Honor Award — Inform Magazie
  • 2004 Design Award — AIA Baltimore
  • 2004 Merit Award — AIA Maryland