Ask Abe: Science Hall and Frank Lloyd Wright

An Alum

Is it true that Science Hall was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright x’1890?

Abe

That would be cool, wouldn’t it? The timing does seem plausible — Wright was on campus from 1886 to 1887, and Science Hall was built in 1887. However, it was Henry Koch, a Milwaukee architect, who designed the building. Allan Conover, a former UW professor of civil engineering, oversaw the construction and made significant changes to the design. Wright wrote in his autobiography that he was Conover’s student assistant, and he also claimed that he designed some windows for Science Hall that were ultimately passed over. So, we could sort of say that Frank Lloyd Wright was involved in Science Hall’s design — but it would be a stretch. (Fun fact: Science Hall is one of the oldest buildings to use large amounts of structural steel.)