Hyde Hall was built in 2001-2002 to provide a home for the Institute for the Arts and Humanities’ fellowship programs and spaces for intellectual exchange and faculty collaboration at UNC.
The Institute moved from West House to Hyde Hall on Sept. 19, 2002. Our building was the first structure to be built on McCorkle Place since the Morehead Building in 1949.
Hyde Hall was built and furnished with $6.8 million in private contributions, including a lead gift from alumni Barbara and Pitt Hyde of Memphis, Tenn.
Octagonal in shape, suffused with light on all sides and from the cupola above, this room is designed and appointed for its principal use: providing space for conversations about learning and teaching, research and creative projects, ideas and images and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities’ public missions to the state, the nation and humankind.
The incubator provides space for Fellows, faculty and alumni to work individually in cubicles or collaboratively in small groups on specific projects that advance their work, address larger societal needs and explore issues of importance to the university community.
The room is the setting for showcasing the work and scholarship of UNC faculty through performances, lectures, panel discussions, small conferences and receptions.
Hyde Hall is clad in distressed Park Ridge brick and Tryon accent brick from the Old Carolina Brick Co. of Salisbury, N.C., with Mortar #407 and Bluff River pre-cast. The order to Old Carolina Brick was for “90,000 brick, hand made.”
The light illuminating the cupola is kept bright day and night as a reminder of one of the two key terms in the university’s guiding principles. “Lux,” the practice of the liberties of discourse, respect for different points of view and openness to revisions of opinion enact its companion term, “Libertas,” liberty, which is necessary for the light of knowledge and knowledge necessary for the discipline of liberty.
The “conversation” sculpture commemorates the retirement of IAH founder Ruel Tyson. Connoisseur and collector of rocks and pebbles, Tyson created the Institute as a place where faculty engage in conversation with colleagues across disciplines. The sculpture comprises three large stones stacked on top of each other. A fourth stone near the walkway at sitting height invites passersby to pause and engage in “conversation.” The sculpture was created by acclaimed sculptor Thomas Sayre of Raleigh, N.C., a Morehead Scholar and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate of English and studio art, a Public IAH Fellow and friend of Tyson.
The capsule is scheduled to be opened on Oct. 12, 2052 – the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Hyde Hall.
Beneath the foundations of Hyde Hall rest two other foundations of buildings that preceded it.
A structure lost to memory and almost to record was discovered through the work of the university’s Archaeological Laboratory during the summer of 1997. The structure, privately owned, was known as “The Poor House,” a place where students and others lived during much of the 19th century. Artifacts uncovered by the archaeologists date from 1810 to 1830.
The building measured about 64 feet by 16 feet and likely rose two stories. It featured a large central room with smaller rooms at each end. Chimneys butted both ends.
The land on which the structure stood was one of the original plots the university auctioned in 1793. In 1920, the university reacquired the property, a 60-foot strip of land that extended into the park-like sward now known as McCorkle Place.
The other building preceding Hyde Hall was a fraternity house, which was destroyed in about 1930. Hidden in the exterior brickwork of the chimney of Hyde Hall’s Fellows Room is a brick from the earliest building, inset into the area directly above the time capsule.