International studio — 61.1917

Page: LXXXVII
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An Uninstitutional Institution


IDA NOYES HALL, CHICAGO: WINDOW SEAT, DESK
AND TEA NOOK IN STUDY ROOM

COOLIDGE AND HODGDON
ARCHITECTS

AN UNINSTITUTIONAL INSTITU-
TE TION
AA BY HENRY BLACKMAN SELL
There is nothing “institutional”
about Ida Noyes Hall, the new club house, gym-
nasium and restaurant that serves the 3,000
women students at the University of Chicago.
As all things beautiful and worthy are the
direct result of the thought applied to their crea-
tion, so the “homey” perfection of this building
may be quickly traced to the unusual decorative
ideas of Miss Langley—of the University decora-
tion department—and Professor (Miss) Reynolds,
of the English department.
“We studied the building and its possibilities
of environmental influence on the girls who were
to make this new recreation home theirs,” said
Miss Langley, in a discussion of the decoration of
the rooms.
“Our aim was to make the rooms as beautiful
as those of an English manor house, English be-
cause of all homes the English are the most home-

like. We have broken many precedents set down
in the unwritten laws of interior decoration. The
most noticeable is that of a lack of line and curve
similarity. No two rooms are alike; no ‘period’
has been adhered to. And yet there is well-estab-
lished precedent for this.
“Consider an Elizabethan room; why should
one adhere strictly to ‘period’ Elizabethan furni-
ture in such a room? In the days of Queen Eliza-
beth, the fine old rooms held many pieces ‘out of
period.’ They had Dutch clocks and Teuton
organs and pictures from Italy. People travelled
afar and brought home treasures for their homes
as they do to-day. No, it is not natural to cling
unreasonably to one period—one period unvaried
and without individuality does not, cannot, ex-
press home.”
We were passing through the spacious, quiet
library, and I looked about for an illustration of
the plausible theory of her statement. Over yon-
der stood a beautiful lounge, a reproduction of one
of Thomas Chippendale’s most delicate pieces;
against the wall was a Gothic chest, a small carved

LXXXVII
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