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Location: Cape Girardeau, MO

Architect: while with The Lawrence Group

Southeast Missouri State University – Academic Hall Dome

The goal behind enhancing the interior of the dome at Academic Hall is to celebrate a tradition and create an experience for past, present and future students by making a special room to celebrate the history, intrigue and mysterious quality of this unique space.

Presently, the interior of the dome is kept behind a single locked door; the attic space is an exposed wood framed structure with 8 round windows providing natural light during the day. The volume under the central dome is a high cubic area used as attic space with a circular catwalk served by a single narrow wooden stair 25 feet above the floor below. Once you are on the catwalk the high dome rises 35 feet above you and you are surrounded by inscriptions that transform the skeletal wood framing into a historic diary, a timeline of individual encounters in the form of names with dates, some dating back to the mid 1920’s.

We envision transforming the lower volume into a mezzanine space that is suitable and flexible enough for board presentations, fundraising events as well as student gatherings. The room will be roughly 1,600 square feet and serve groups no larger than 50. The walls and ceilings of the room will be finished with painted dry wall and incorporate infrastructure and technology to allow for a range of lighting and media presentations as required. The Floor will be finished with wood or carpet as desired. The ceiling will have a special lens, a glass dome that allows the occupants of the room to view inscriptions on the wood of the dome structure above them. A spiral stair case provides access to the existing catwalk above and will be secured behind a locked glass door. Once you are up above the room inside the dome the structure is accessible for viewing the inscriptions and adding more to the collection. We propose lighting the interior of the dome to enhance visibility from below and create a dramatic, dynamic celebration of the history behind the chalk inscriptions