#39 - Graham House, Wheeler Street, Andover, c1927 (06/03/90)


Many architectural styles went into Phillips clubhouse.

This building asks to be noticed. From its cupola to its front facade, every detail asks for your attention. Therefore, it’s surprising that it was built for a secret society. In 1887, when the AUV – Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas – Society was founded at Phillips Academy, Andover, it and several other fraternities on campus had secret meetings and memberships. The school tried to prohibit such societies, but finally decided to regulate them instead. Forty years later, AUV was rich enough to build this elegant clubhouse. The Boston architects, Codman and Despradelle, borrowed the steep roof from medieval Europe, the cupola from a Colonial church, the Palladian window from a Georgian country house and the garland around the orb in the front gable from Renaissance Italy. The elements were put together in a way unrecognizable by those early builders, and we now label the result “Period.” The architects knew that club members and the rest of the school would come to this building on foot down the hill from the main campus.
So the front, more than three stories high with its green copper wreath against the red brick,
catches the eye from a distance.

And, as you approach, the artistry of the detailed workmanship is a pleasure to see. However, it is very hard to view what might be happening inside. The facade, inviting though it is visually, was a barrier for the secret society within. In the 1950s, Phillips Academy phased out all fraternities. This club, renamed Graham House, became the home of the religion Department.
The building is now used as Phillips Academy’s counseling
center.

I think today this collection of details would be called Beaux Arts.

(color photo from the Phillips Andover website)
(GHW Bush was a member - ed)

1 comment:

Jane Griswold Radocchia said...

Alex: I wrote this in honor of your graduation - I don't think you ever knew.