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Architecture
Thursday, October 30, 2014 ยท 11:10:18 AM ET

Architecture

The Hall of Fame for Great Americans and Gould Memorial Library are both NYC landmarks and listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places. They were designed by renowned New York City architect Stanford White. The architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White achieved legendary status for their beautifully grand Beaux Arts buildings constructed in turn of the century New York. Stanford White was considered the premier Gilded Age architect, whose lofty monumental structures included the original Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Club at 60th street and Fifth Avenue, constructed for J.P. Morgan, and the Washington Square Arch.

© 2003 Ethan Robey & Michael Oswaldo Castaneda,
Visual Media Center, Columbia University

For the Gould Memorial Library White chose as his inspiration the Pantheon in Rome. A fitting model considering the Hall of Fame that would soon be built as an ornamental colonnade curving behind the library was destined to become the quintessential American Pantheon. The library is laid out as a Greek cross with a circular reading room crowned by a soaring coffered dome. The rotunda is lined with 16 Corinthian columns made of rare Connemara Irish green marble. Statues of the Greek Muses line the lofty balcony while the floor is covered with marble mosaic tiles from Italy. Tiffany stained glass windows brighten the vestibule and encircle the rotunda’s mezzanine level.

The exterior of the library is made of yellow Roman brick and limestone pilasters. Six Indiana sandstone columns line the portico and beckon you to explore further. As a tribute to the murdered Stanford White his artist colleagues chose to honor him with the memorial bronze doors that now grace the entrance to the Gould Memorial Library. They were designed by his son Lawrence White and feature eight symbolic reliefs done by Stanford White’s friends as a tribute to someone who had “opened doors” for other artists.

© 2003 Ethan Robey & Michael Oswaldo Castaneda,
Visual Media Center, Columbia University

The Hall of Fame colonnade was also designed by Mr. White as a neo-classical promenade built atop the library’s foundations on the crest of the highest point in New York City. It is made of limestone and granite and has a vaulted ceiling of Guastovino tiles. The original 29 bronze tablets honoring the first Hall of Fame inductees were designed by the Tiffany Studios.

The Hall of Fame complex on the Bronx Community College campus is considered one of Stanford White’s finest achievements and one of the most beautifully sited urban campuses in the nation.


The Hall of Fame and Gould Memorial Library are featured in the following NYC guide books:

© 2003 Ethan Robey & Michael Oswaldo Castaneda,
Visual Media Center, Columbia University
  • New York’s 50 Best Architectural Treasures

  • City Secrets-New York City


The neo-classical splendor of Stanford White’s campus design has lent itself to use in many feature films. These include:

  • A Beautiful Mind (2001)

  • The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

  • Sophie’s Choice (1982)

  • Goodbye, Columbus (1969).