Time and technology caught up with Norfolk State University’s beloved Brown Hall, originally built in 1955 at the heart of campus. Mindful of changing pedagogies of the 21st century classroom, NSU made the difficult decision to demolish the original building that served as library, cafeteria, classrooms and administrative offices to make way for a new G.W.C. Brown Memorial Hall truly representative of today’s learning and active learning environments.
The new building is a three-story, 154,000 SF classroom and office building. The building hosts a variety of flexible classrooms, distance learning classrooms, computer labs, observation classrooms, meeting rooms, study areas, student lounges, audio and video editing suites, TV studio, multipurpose black box theater, and a theater that seats 373. The North Lobby includes a gallery for displays about the history of Brown Hall. The South Lobby includes the Lobby Amphitheater which accommodates small performances, presentations, and informal collaboration.
Key design concepts included opportunities for out-of-classroom instruction. Corridors become “learning nodes,” where students and professors collaborate informally before and after class. Learning moves outdoors with a second-story outdoor classroom and an outdoor amphitheater. Generous glass walls provide sweeping views to an academic quad that includes the Student Service & Student Center Building, the Nursing & General Education Building, the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library and the Communication Towers. Nostalgic alumni will recognize the tribute to Brown Hall’s history in the new clock anchoring the building along Corprew Avenue.