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Out with the Old

Old Main in 1933

Old Main in 1933

The Destruction of Old Main and Construction of New Main

Only thirty-five years after the completion of the original Main Building (known by many as "The Parthenon of The University's Acropolis"), discussion about the need for a new library began...

In 1930, Dr. William James Battle, a Classics professor and chairman of the Faculty Building Committee, suggested Paul Philippe Cret as The University's consulting architect for this project. Born in Lyon, France, Cret studied in Paris at the most prestigious school of architecture in the world at that time, the Academy Des Beaux Arts, Paris. Cret disliked the outdated Victorian-Gothic architectural style of Old Main which he planned to replace with a towering new Library Building. The end result was a compromise between Battle, Cret, and the Board of Regents. In the end, they felt the Spanish-Colonial Revival style best represented the history of Texas. Battle's classical influence, however, is also evident throughout the building in the form of classical details, inscriptions, and sculpture.

Architect, Paul Philippe Cret

Paul Philippe Cret

Old Main Being Razed

Destruction of Old Main

In 1932 the plans were announced to raze the old building in order to construct the new administration-library building amidst the protest of many. One instructor, Meredith Neill Posey, voiced his objections to the razing of Old Main in his poem, "On the Destruction of the Main Building."

The destruction of the Main Building was completed in 1934.

The loss of the Old Main Building was far-reaching.

"Taps" was sounded the other day for the 50-year-old main building of the University of Texas. The ancient structure, familiar and dear to about 50,000 former students of the university, will make way for the new Main-Library unit....
- San Antonio News.

New Main Construction SiteBattle, Cret, & White at Construction Site
New Main Construction New Main Partially Completed

The new building was constructed in three stages. The Tower was built behind the existing Main Building. The Old Main Building was then demolished and replaced by the central facade. The planned third stage, additional book stack space, never occurred. After the Tower was completed, the Regents decided to alter the southern portion of the new library to accommodate administrative offices and classrooms.

Current-day Main Building

Current-day Main Building and Tower

The Board of Regents considered other names for the new building but in 1939 they decided to keep the name Main Building. The new building was affectionately dubbed the “UT Skyscraper” by many, however, because it rose above all the other buildings in the Austin skyline.

Out with the Old Ring Those Bells Once Upon a Time Main The Genius Inside Out In the News

12 May 1999
Send comments to evpp@www.utexas.edu
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