When Pat Neff Hall was dedicated on February 1, 1940, it became an instant embodiment of Baylor’s character: proud, faithful, timeless, and with its own unique style. From its signature dome – which was covered in gold leaf in 2000 – to the passages of scripture chiseled into its exterior friezes, PNH is an iconic piece of Baylor’s built environment.
No less stunning than its exterior are the countless touches to the rooms inside that set it apart as a landmark of late 1930’s architecture. A trip through PNH’s halls reveals details in wood and metal, a decorative tile rendering of the Baylor seal embedded in the first floor lobby, and all along the upper portion of the walls in the presidential office suite, a frieze patterned in repeating flowers and scrolls cast in plaster.
In 2021, an area outside of Baylor President Linda Livingstone’s office was slated for renovations that would create better office space for her chief of staff and significantly reconfigure the space, up to and including the necessary step of adding a new wall. In order to keep the look and feel of the new space as consistent as possible with the original design, the Aramark construction planning team had hoped to find a way to replicate the original frieze work with modern techniques, which led to a discussion with the team from the University Libraries’ Experiential Learning Commons.
Makerspace Manager KJ Mikulencak’s solution – outlined in full in the video below – was a masterful blend of modern technology, 3D printing, and old-fashioned craftsmanship that resulted in an installation that is almost indistinguishable from the original Depression-era work. Take a few moments and learn how the finished product was developed, step-by-step.
One final Libraries connection to the project will come from a partnership with the Department of Museum Studies. Adjunct professor Eric Ames – who serves as assistant director in the Libraries’ Marketing & Communications office – worked with graduate student Amber Hansen to document and research the original frieze work prior to renovations, and their work will produce a small marker outlining the project, its impact, and the team involved in its creation. The marker will be installed in the renovated area this fall.
The Pat Neff Hall frieze project represents an innovative and unexpected avenue for collaboration with the Libraries and on-campus partners including Facilities Services, the President’s Office, and the Department of Museum Studies. This cross-departmental partnership perfectly reflects the Experiential Learning Commons’ mission to provide collaborative, imaginative, hands-on experiences that further education, solve problems, and lead to new discoveries.
Learn more about the Experiential Learning Commons here.
Libraries personnel involved in the Pat Neff Hall frieze project include:
KJ Mikulencak – Makerspace Manager
Sam McCleery – Student Staff, Makerspace
Andrew Telep – Associate Director, Experiential Learning Commons
Troy Shaw – Video Producer
Eric Ames – Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications