The Morris Center for Law and Liberty at Houston Christian University is a new event and classroom building that is modeled on Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It is scaled, proportioned, and detailed to capture the essence of the historical building while utilizing modern systems and construction techniques and operating within a university budget. The project is comprised of a large main hall, two flanking dependencies, and an adjacent classroom building. The front buildings (hall & dependencies) are brick and cast stone, with standing seam metal roofs and historically detailed cornices. The classroom building is detailed as a colonial meetinghouse, with a brick water table, siding, a simple cornice, and a standing seam metal roof that ties the complex together. All the buildings have true double-hung windows and paneled doors to remain true to the historical precedent.
The main building contains two rooms on the ground floor that are closely modeled on the historic spaces of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and signed, and a large event space on the second floor that is harmoniously detailed with the historic rooms. These spaces are intended as educational theater, where points of history & law are discussed and debated in a setting that draws on the essential architecture of the historical spaces to heighten students’ understanding of first principles of our nation. The lighting, finishes, and furnishings are coherently assembled to reinforce this effect.
The Hall is 17,284 square feet and is surmounted by a 96’ tall cupola (for a total height of 166’) that is intended as a beacon for the campus. The Dependencies are each 1,432 square feet and house a collaborative classroom and display room. The Classroom building is 18,332 square feet on three floors, and contains classrooms and faculty offices. It is simply detailed on the interior in keeping with the other classroom buildings on campus.
2023 Houston Business Journal Landmark Awards, Education Finalist