URI Roosevelt Hall Restoration

Named after First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, this brick building at the heart of the University of Rhode Island Kingston Campus was constructed in 1938 with WPA funds as a women's dormitory. Over time, its use changed to offices and tutorial spaces, and the original materials deteriorated. Our challenge was to restore the exterior of the building by replacing windows, slate and copper roofs, gutters and downspouts, and entry doors, and to resolve exterior masonry issues - all while reducing future maintenance demands.

For the aging windows and dormers, severe intervention was required. The unique angled dormers were an unusual challenge, with small-pane windows as sidewalls. Aluminum-clad simulated-divided-lite Marvin windows with muntin profiles and custom panning were designed to match the original building. Dormer wood trim was replaced with white composite to reduce maintenance. The massive old-growth pine sills preserved on the lower windows were coated with a 20-year paint system after lead paint abatement. 

All flashings, gutters and downspouts were replaced with matching profiles in Freedom Grey copper. The pop-up monitor barn-lap was replicated in PVC. 

Restoration included more than 6,000 special-size cast replacement brick and Keim hand-painting of porous but not-yet-spalled brick faces. The chimneys, with wythe separation and dangerous spalling imminent, were rebuilt in kind to match the walk-through design. 

The 1960's exterior flush metal doors with slit glazing were replaced with glazed mahogany doors designed to return to the original design while maintaining accessibility clearances. 

Completed in April 2016, the restoration increased occupant comfort and energy efficiency, restored shell integrity, returned visible elements to their historic roots, and reduced future maintenance costs.

Winner of the Preserve Rhode Island, 2018 Rhody Award for Historic Preservation.

Photography: Warren Jagger