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Big Plans

In the spring of 1965, Chicago architect Harry Weese, who had also designed the Watzek Sports Center, submitted detailed blueprints to the college for a massive $3 million complex that would have housed the theatre and visual arts departments.

Picture a four-story structure overlooking Reed canyon where Vollum now stands. The building’s two matching wings would have met at a circular center—a 1,200-seat proscenium theater with multiple balconies, towering fly lofts, and roomy wings. The plans included space for an experimental theatre; a large lecture hall; art and theatre libraries; studios for calligraphy, sculpture, and ceramics; a radio station—the list goes on.


The plans were serious enough to be featured in Architectural Record (May 1963). The commentary in the magazine said Weese’s architectural models anticipated “future growth” for the arts at Reed. It has taken 40 years, but that growth may finally be coming.


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All photos: Special Collections, Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library

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