St. Edward’s University Doyle Hall

DATE: 2009
LOCATION: Austin, Texas, USA
OLD USE: Men’s dormitory
NEW USE: Faculty offices


Doyle Hall was one of the first dormitories at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Built in 1960, the building served as a residence for men at the campus. A similar dorm, Premont Hall, was built opposite it and the two framed secluded basketball and volleyball courts between them.[1]


Founded in 1885 by the Congregation of Holy Cross, St. Edward’s University emphasizes critical thinking, social justice and ethical practice. The liberal arts school is situated on a hill overlooking downtown Austin.[2]

The project architectural firm was Specht Harpman, founded in 1995 by partners Scott Specht and Louise Harpman. Located in New York City and Austin, this modern design firm has completed projects in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Italy.


St. Edward’s needed to expand its residential capacity as well as provide new faculty offices. The school decided to build a new dormitory and move the residences from Doyle Hall to that new structure. By moving the students, Doyle Hall provided new space for the university. Rather than demolishing the building and starting from scratch, St. Edward’s decided to take a green approach:

  • Most of the shell and interior walls are reused, saving resources and cutting down on waste in the landfill.
  • A white roof reflects heat away from the building, reducing energy consumption.
  • Construction waste such as steel, copper, aluminum, brick and concrete are recycled through salvage yards, keeping waste out of the landfills.
  • New double-pane, “low -emissivity” tinted windows help control heat transfer and save energy.
  • Existing trees are kept in place alongside hardy plants that need little water. Recycled materials such as decomposed granite and hardwood mulch are used in the landscaping.
  • New roof insulation helps conserve interior heating and cooling, saving energy.
  • New two-story addition uses less land area, leaving more natural landscape free to absorb rain and support plants.
  • Energy-efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and cooling are used throughout.
  • Smart sensors turn off lights automatically when people have left the building.
  • Low-toxin paint, sealants and adhesives are used throughout the renovation.
  • Sun-shade panels shield windows and a new outdoor walkway from the Texas sun.

The renovated building now contains the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Offices of Human Resources, Auxiliary Services, as well as three new classrooms. An addition was included in the project which brings Doyle Hall closer to Premont Hall and in doing so allowed the school to incorporate a shaded gravel court for dining and studying.[3]

[1]Metropolis, March 2010
[2]St. Edward’s University
[3]St. Edward’s University

Images courtesy of Specht Harpman.