Marshall University Architectural Guide
by Carlos Bozzoli, Architect
The John Deaver Drinko Academy

Holderby Hall

Northern facade
Current use:
Coed residence with men in the east wing and women in the west wing.It houses a cafeteria and a special Academic Commu nity Environment, which helps students to improve their academic performance.
Fifth Avenue at South side of campus.
C.E. Sillings, Charleston, WV
1963, enlarged in 1968-69
In honor of James Holderby, who in 1837 sold one and one-fourth acres of his farm to establish Marshall Academy.

The building is a huge rectangular block with 8 stories of residential facilities and a 9th Story which houses a game room. The northern façade has an extremely regular design, with eight rows of rectangular windows on a plain brick wall. Each side of the block has an open staircase, for ancillary uses (fire exit), but expressed with a thin vertical wall like a slab, separated from the central massive block, giving to the entire design a lighter character. The southern façade has two protruding vertical masses that intercross the main block, that plays a symmetrical layout. The vertical masses are from red brick as well, with two classes of windows: a series of small, square windows, that appears like dots in the huge surface, and a full height, vertical glass strip that runs from the 1st. to the 8th floor, allowing the flush of light into the main staircases. The 9th. Floor is clad in white rendered stucco walls, with a wrap around row of aluminum openings, thus remarking the top of this building. The first floor of the northern façade has an extended one-floor cafeteria, which faces the inner campus, expressed as well in a restrained, sober modernism. Taken as a whole, this is a clear example of the 1960’s decade of Modern Architecture unquestioned dominion over.


Most American architects and the public opinion. All the rules and concerns about unity, strict response to functional needs, a very selective and restrictive choice of building materials, and an absolute lack of decoration were consistently apparent. No special references or quoting to the surroundings were made, with the exception of the use of brick, a common building material since the Old Main Building onwards.