Weiser Hall, a landmark building on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, recently reopened. The renovated and expanded facility repurposed the mid-century ten-storey tower formerly known as Dennison Building to create a dynamic learning environment.
Weiser Hall is Diamond Schmitt Architects’ third project at the University of Michigan, preceded by the Computer Science and Engineering Building and the Thayer Academic Building. Weiser Hall now houses the International Institute and associated programs of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.
“We took the structure down to its concrete slabs and columns and redesigned the interior with an entirely new plan,” said Donald Schmitt, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “The renewed building now provides flexible, day-lit spaces, community clusters and greater accessibility with highly sustainable design features.”
The previous Dennison Building featured concrete corridors that were removed so columns and ceilings could be exposed to enlarge open spaces and bring daylight into the building. Each floor features a unique configuration that accommodates learning space, meeting rooms, offices, conference rooms and student and staff lounges. There are four double-height community commons stacked at the southwest corner, each featuring a biofilter living wall.
Weiser Hall also features a multi-purpose active learning space on the ground floor, in an area that is enlarged by enclosing an overhang with full glazing to create a new gathering space. The top floor was redesigned as an event space, art gallery and boardroom and features floor-to-ceiling bay windows and a commanding view of the campus.
“Weiser Hall is a new, dynamic centre for active and engaged learning – home to our interdisciplinary and internationally-focused LSA centres and units,” added Andrew Martin, dean of the University’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts. “It’s gratifying to officially celebrate Weiser Hall’s opening and the collaborative learning its unique design will foster.”
The building features new mechanical and electrical systems, but not all is changed. It features new thermal efficient windows at the same dimensions as the original windows and a restored brick façade to preserve its context, both with an adjacent building on the campus and the campus itself.