Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

George P. Dodds

Committee Members

Gregor A. Kalas, Ernest F. Freeberg


In July of 1919, the University of Tennessee demolished its 91-year-old main building (called Old College) to make way for a new one in the same location (later named Ayres Hall). Through review of primary and secondary sources, this thesis investigates the motivations for Old College’s demolition and notes the institutional, cultural, and socioeconomic parameters informing Ayres Hall’s architectural genesis. Given the academic and aesthetic future the University’s administration anticipated, Old College as a main building was considered obsolete and architecturally incompatible, and it sat on a piece of land too prominent to tolerate either. Ayres Hall and Morgan Hall (designed in tandem) were fashioned in such a manner that their exteriors would project the institution’s good stewardship and academic relevancy; be somewhat congruent with the Hill’s extant buildings; and together come in under a budget of $800,000.

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