Philips Memorial Hall

West Chester University | West Chester, Pennsylvania

A great example of the Collegiate Gothic style, Philips Memorial Hall is the symbolic front door to West Chester University. It was designed by Walter Price in 1925 and houses the University’s administrative headquarters, including the president’s office, a rare book library, lecture halls, meeting rooms and the main auditorium. Determined not to lose the one remaining building that was original to the campus, the college retained VMA develop a feasibility study and programming analysis to improve the building by painstakingly restoring the building envelope and converting the auditorium into a theater and concert hall. The building received new HVAC, electrical wiring, lighting, plumbing, and fire suppression systems, Pairs of new elevators and restrooms combined with a new at-grade entrance to make the facility fully accessible. The elaborate library woodwork and decorative plaster were carefully restored, two meeting rooms were reclaimed, and all interior spaces were refinished.

The former auditorium, now known as the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, is fit out in accordance with Actor’s Equity requirements, making it a stellar venue for regional and repertory performances as well as international stage acts. It rehabilitated to celebrate its original architectural character while producing a state-of-the-art performance space. Sightlines and acoustics were improved by increasing the rake of the floor, reducing the number of seats under the deep balcony, installing 1,200 new and refurbished seats, and installing decorative plaster acoustic panels on the barrel-vaulted ceiling. A new lighting catwalk was designed in harmony with the historic character of the space, and new stage rigging, lighting and a control booth were installed.


Preservation Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards, 2002
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Grand Jury Award, 2002


  • “The Curtain is Raised on Philips Memorial Hall” by Henrika Taylor. Traditional Building, Nov/Dec 2002.
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Size: 53,000 sf
Budget: $11.54 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Historical Preservation

Philips Memorial Hall

West Chester University | West Chester, Pennsylvania

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