Lowell Textile Institute and the Texas Technological Institute

text textile Institute

From Brian Griggs, AIA, 
Principal, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper

November 22, 2017

One of the historic buildings of the Texas Technological College Historic District at Texas Tech was heavily influenced by the plan, layout, and mill operations model of Southwick Hall, situated at UMass Lowell's  North Campus.  Texas Tech was initially founded as Texas Technological College in 1923, and per the legislative requirements of its charter, textile engineering was a critical early component of the College’s curriculum.  Sometime between February and March 1924, a delegation of administrators and architects from the newly founded West Texas College visited both the Philadelphia Textile Institute and the Lowell Textile Institute to learn more about the programmatic, system, and facility needs of textile engineering.  There is strong evidence to support that the resulting Textile Engineering Building at Texas Tech, whose first phase was completed in 1925, was inspired by Southwick Hall, particularly in terms of featuring a similar salle-porte entry into a courtyard space, a ‘square-donut’ plan configuration, and similar bay spaces for mill and carding machinery. 

photo by Daderot, PD