Oakland University, Rochester, MI
Time in Design
Time in Construction
National Historic Landmark
Described as one of America’s castles, Meadow Brook Hall was originally designed in 1929 by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls (forerunner of SmithGroup) as the residence of Oakland University founders Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automobile pioneer John Dodge, and her second husband, lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson.
The 110-room mansion was inspired by English country manor houses of the Tudor and Elizabethan periods. The exterior combines various textures and patterns using American materials of brick; sandstone; wood timbers and a clay, shingle-tile roof with 39 uniquely designed brick chimneys that distinguish the picturesque roof line. Interiors of the house are elaborately detailed with carved wood and stone, handmade hardware and ceramic art tile, ornately molded and carved plaster ceilings, stained glass window insets, crystal and art glass lighting fixtures and gold-plated bathroom fittings.
In 2003 the HopkinsBurns team, as SmithGroup and under the leadership of principal in charge/project manager Tamara Burns, embarked on a three-year project starting with a preliminary building assessment to determine the scope and cost of restoring the building. This was followed by a three-year restoration and infrastructure upgrade project, which included upgraded life-safety systems, new steam boilers, an emergency generator, upgrades of electrical service and distribution and extensive repairs to the building’s heating and cooling system. Architectural work included tile roof repairs and replacement, bronze window restoration, restoration of selected deteriorated interior elements and conservation of selected decorative treatments. Also completed was a detailed comprehensive building assessment that will guide the future maintenance and restoration of the Hall for years into the future.