Folwell Hall

  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architects
  • Client: University of Minnesota

Project Highlights

  • Historical reconstruction of chimneys
  • Steel columns to transfer loads and removal of interior bearing walls
  • Building is listed National Register of Historic Places


Built in 1907, Folwell Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the University’s campus. Preserving its historical character was as important as rehabilitating it for modern use. Phase I required a complete historical exterior renovation and rebuilding of the north and west exterior stairs, as well as the addition of a significant amount of new mechanical space within the existing attic. Several brick chimneys were carefully dismantled, then, historically reconstructed as functional exhaust and intake air plenums. Additional structural steel columns were added in the third level corridor walls to transfer the additional loads to existing bearing walls below. Phase II was an interior renovation that involved the removal of interior bearing walls, creation of new openings and floor infills, removal of several superfluous chimneys not re-supported in the Phase I renovation, installation of new elevators, and creation of an underpinning/retaining wall in the crawl space beneath the building. Prior to design, MBJ conducted a thorough structural conditions investigation to evaluate stability, structural systems, and historical materials and methods. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.