Allen Center, Three Floors and Four

I got a couple of emails from readers asking for “Before” and “After” shots of Allen Center. Sensing a groundswell, I’ve decided to fulfill this admittedly reasonable request.

Here’s the only picture I have with me of a roughly complete three-story exterior, taken in early 1967:

Allen Center Construction 1967

And here’s a 1996 photo from the Campus Photographer’s collection (probably taken by Tommy Lavergne?) that gives a good view of the added top floor:

Allen Center campus photographer1996

And for good measure here’s a look at the cashier’s office, circa 1970, taken from behind the desk. That’s quite a machine.

Allen Center cashier 1970

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12 Responses to Allen Center, Three Floors and Four

  1. Gloria Tarpley '81 says:

    I am so glad you posted these pictures! I thought my memory was faulty because when I looked back at my recollections of Allen Center as a student (I graduated in ’81) because I remembered a building that was boring, and sadly utilitarian and lacking in the distinctive “Rice style”. When I saw more recent pictures with the top floor added, I just assumed early Alzheimer’s or something — I had no idea the top floor was added, with the flourishes that make the building more in line with the rest of the campus, and less so with Lovett College, the nadir of design at Rice. Yet again,thanks for the post!

  2. Gloria Tarpley '81 says:

    Edit — Please remove the word “because” from the third line — sorry! I hit send too soon!

  3. effegee says:

    An interesting anecdote about the addition of the fourth floor of Allen Center:

    When the decision was made to add on (add up?) to Allen Center, it was determined that the existing structure could support the addition of either 1 or 2 floors. To determine the visual impact of the additions on the campus, two sets of balloons were attached to the four corners of the building — one at the finished height of five floors and one at the finished height of four floors (one was yellow and the other red, but I’ve forgotten which was which). Various administrators, and I think some Board members, walked around campus to view which balloons would be seen from various vantage points. The fifth floor was deemed too intrusive, particularly in the Quad, and only the fourth floor was subsequently built. Of course, that doesn’t count the attic but that’s another story.

  4. There will likely be similar concerns about buildings near the Skyspace.

  5. marmer01 says:

    OK, so when? Google Earth says it’s there by ’95, I’m not sure about ’89. Definitely not there in ’78. I think I would have remembered the construction if it was while the Shepherd School offices were in Sewall Hall while I was here; 1980 to ’87 or so.

  6. mattnoall says:

    That looks to be an electric calculator. By today’s standards an “electro-mechanical marvel. They were obsolete by the mid1970’s when electronic calculators took over from those short lived Rube Goldbergs. That may help to
    date the picture a bit

  7. mattnoall says:

    That looks to be an electric calculator. Those electromechanical marvels were obsolete by the mid 1970’s which may help date the picture. I would guess before 1973, but probably earlier by a little

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Only one guess per customer, Matt.

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      I think it is a cash register/recorder for the Bursar. I vaguely recall that when you went in to pay, they would record your payment on their ledger sheet and give you a receipt as well. It appears that there is a slot in the bottom to slide the page in

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