The transformation of the schoolhouse : American secondary school architecture and educational reform, 1880-1920

Gyure, Dale Allen, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Wilson, Richard Guy, Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
Murphy, Kevin, Department of Art, University of Virginia

The Transformation of the Schoolhouse: American Secondary School Architecture and Educational Reform, 1880-1920 Dale Allen Gyure University of Virginia This dissertation examines American secondary school buildings between 1880 and 1920, recasting the traditional story of progressive educational reform by including the actual school buildings where reform policies became real for the students, teachers and administrators. It focuses on the transformation of the school building from a simple collection of similar rooms, described by contemporaries as the "school house," to the complex, differentiated modern school plant that drew comparisons to the ideal factory. The thesis is that social, cultural and architectural factors combined to change the nineteenth-century schoolhouse into the modem school plant by 1920. These factors can be grouped into three general categories: (a) organizational and curricular reforms in the educational system; (b) an increased societal emphasis on the health and hygiene of school-aged children; and (c) education's changing role in American society.

School architecture reform during this period engaged both architectural and social issues. Administrators and architects were inspired by advances in technology and medicine to find the safest and most efficient ways to meet changing educational requirements. Lighting, ventilation and fireproofing concerns moved to the forefront of school design. As enrollments grew and the curriculum expanded to include manual and vocational training, specialized rooms became necessary and architects faced new problems of rational arrangement and circulation. And auditoriums and gymnasiums enhanced the building's role as a social and cultural center. Underlying all of these factors were notions of efficiency and economy adopted from American businesses. This study examines the way such issues as health and safety, education, economy and efficiency principles, style and symbolism, and the high school's emerging role as the leading agent for social and vocational training either influenced or resulted from the architectural transformation of the schoolhouse, using St. Louis and Chicago as case studies.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Educational change -- United States -- History -- 20th century, School buildings -- United States -- History -- 19th century, Educational change -- United States -- History -- 19th century, School buildings -- United States -- History -- 20th century

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-02-18 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:33:32.

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: