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01_Tower Hall Exterior
04_Tower Hall Steps
02_Tower Hall Ramp
03_Tower Hall Steps
05_Tower Hall Interior
06_Tower Hall Detail
07_Tower Hall Light Fixture



Tower Hall, built in 1910, is the oldest structure on the SJSU campus.  Designed by state architects Sellon & Hemmings in the Spanish Revival style, the building functions as the administrative office for the university president and executive staff and includes a large lecture hall.  The building had not been updated for many years when the university sought a partner to assist on the front end with planning the remodel--knowing there would be difficult issues with preservation compliance, ADA access, and budget control.  Steve was chosen to lead the design development work for the building exterior, the interior public lobbies, the President’s Office, and ADA access.  


A key challenge was to create an integrated wheelchair access ramp at the building entrance that met current building codes without degrading the historic look and details of the building. This was resolved by matching the new exterior ramp with the brick, stucco, and wrought iron handrails of the existing building exterior.  Inside the building, second floor access was accommodated by identifying an elevator location and design so that it had no impact on the original plans and finish of the space. First and second floor lobby improvements were addressed with a repaint of the original filigree, new custom lighting (reflecting the period, but energy efficient), and refurbishment of existing floor tile and wood paneling.  A revised space plan for the President’s Office and administrative offices resulted in better work flow and a more welcoming entry for students, faculty, and visitors.  Existing historic wood windows were given an interior overlay of glass to increase energy efficiency without changing the exterior look of the building.  Taken together, the improvements were a solid package of long-term solutions that will provide positive impacts on the historic building and university for years to come.

SIZE                   N/A

TYPE                Historic Preservation


LOCATION     San Jose, California

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