Alpha Phi at UGA
Loretta Bork Newcomer, AIA, LEED AP
Joseph Smith, AIA
Gabriel Comstock, AIA, LEED AP
Photography: Fredrik Brauer
The Alpha Phi Sorority project rehabilitated the 1860/1909 Dearing-Wilkins House in Athens and converted it from single-family use to sorority use, with the addition of 54 beds, site parking, assembly rooms, and dining facilities. The building program sought to retain as much of the historic house as possible, including original parlor rooms and finishes and significant historic exterior features, while adding to the building in a way that complements the old house that Athenians have loved for years.
Converting the house from single-family to sorority use required the addition of substantial new floor area. The massing of the additions is oriented to the rear of the historic house and across the width of the lot to allow the house’s central hall axis to continue through to the new chapter room in the south wing. The north dorm wing forms one edge of a garden courtyard framed by brick garden walls and the side of the historic house.
The openness at the rear of the historic wraparound porches was preserved by matching the width of the south wing to the historic house and by incorporating a glassy hyphen to connect the north and south wings. This hyphen also breaks up the massing of the two rear additions so that their secondary relationship to the historic house is clear. The exterior detailing of the new additions is sympathetic to the neoclassicism of the historic house, but uses simpler details for both economy and deference to the original.
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