Cass Gilbert Society


University of Texas Library, Austin, TX

University of Texas Library - Battle Hall

University of Texas Library

Other Names:
Battle Hall, University of Texas
Austin, Texas
Design & Construction:
1910-1911[1909-1911 Irish-1999; 1911 Christen-2001]
Cass Gilbert 

The Old Library, now known as Battle Hall, was selected in 2007 as one of the Nation's 150 favorite architectural works by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). [AIA-150]. The original University Library (1910-1911) marked the beginning of Gilbert's service as campus architect for the University of Texas at Austin, a position he held through 1922. In that time, he designed only two buildings—the Library and the Education Building (1915-1918, now Sutton Hall)—however, his influence was much greater than just the two acclaimed buildings. Gilbert’s hand can be seen all across the campus in the selection of the materials for the campus buildings, the general stylistic vocabulary, especially the Spanish Renaissance, for its principal campus buildings, as well as in the layout of the south mall with its arrangement of axes and quadrangles "that determined the shape of the distinguished campus that would eventually evolve." [Christen-2001 p. 192]

In 1910, the University’s campus consisted of eight buildings of "widely disparate styles and materials." [Utexas-Campus-Plan p 3] The construction of the Library (later named Battle Hall after Dr. William James Battle (1870-1955), the sixth president of the University of Texas, and the first dean of the School of Education) [Utexas-web-Battle-Hall] marked the introduction of a more formal tone for the campus. The Library was designed in the Spanish Renaissance style, with limestone facades and a shallow pitched hip roof of red tile. Gilbert employed classical decorative elements for the Library: arched windows with ornate ironwork balconies, zodiac medallions, deep eaves, and polychromatic soffits.

Currently both Battle Hall and Sutton Hall are part of the School of Architecture complex.

See Also

  • Amy Crossette. "Genius Loci: The Special Magic Achieved When the Natural, the Constructed and the Interaction Between the Two, Work In Harmony." (online article. University of Texas, Austin). Scroll down to find the article about the School of Architecture and its buildings.

  • Irish-1999 pp. 103-106