University of Alabama Bryce Main

Bryce Main, formerly the Alabama State Hospital for the Insane, was constructed in the late 1850s and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was in extreme disrepair when The University of Alabama acquired the property in 2010. In 2020, the university hired TURNERBATSON to lead the $50 million project to restore the deteriorating building back to its original glory and serve a new purpose for campus activities.

The project required wholesale renovations to the 130,000 SF facility in order to create a new welcome center for student admissions, Theatre & Dance Department offices, classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and a mental health museum honoring the building’s past.

Extensive renovations were required to stabilize the aging building, including the demolition/reconstruction of the East Wing, which was no longer structurally sound. The entire building envelope was updated, including new exterior coatings, windows, and roofing.

Comprehensive field measurements, investigations and studies were completed as part of the process to ensure that historically significant elements were maintained. These studies include the replication of the cupolas, eave brackets, windows and surrounding details, both interior and exterior, refurbishment of the small rotunda dome and large central dome.

The building is now a welcoming front door to the campus and is a tribute to the intentional blending of historic preservation, code and energy efficient upgrades and modern and relevant programming.

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